CONCERNS have been raised after a number of shops in East Renfrewshire were targeted by thieves, writes David Carnduff.

The crooks struck in the Eastwood area last week.

In one instance, they smashed open a door to gain entry to a dry-cleaners in Eastwoodmains Road before stealing money from the till and leaving a trail of damage in their wake.

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They also attempted to force their way into other businesses in the area during the early morning raids.

East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton and Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw have since met with shaken store owners and workers to offer their support.

They have also written to Chief Inspector John McQuilter, who is Area Commander for East Renfrewshire, asking to be kept informed of any developments in the hunt for the culprits.

Both politicians have pointed out that new data published by Police Scotland shows a “significant” rise in crime under the SNP government, with the overall number of criminal offences taking place between April and July rising to 65,107, compared with 62,377 for the same period last year.

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Mr Masterton said: “There is absolutely no excuse for disrupting local businesses by attempting burglary to grab any cash that might be available and regrettably, in one case, the culprits were able to cause real damage and enter the premises.”

Conservative colleague Mr Carlaw added: “On the same day it was revealed that criminal offences are soaring under the SNP, it is massively concerning to learn that the crimewave has spread to Eastwood.”

A police spokesman said two youths, aged 14 and 16, were arrested last week, with officers checking CCTV footage and forensic evidence to establish whether they are linked to crimes in the Eastwood area.