Empty businesses in Scotland warned they could be easy targets for thieves during lockdown

Shops and offices across Scotland are being seen as potential easy targets for thieves and vandals during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a business body.

Shops and offices across Scotland are being seen as potential easy targets for thieves and vandals during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a business body.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) said there has been a spate of attacks on premises across the country, suggesting criminals are exploiting the empty buildings and lack of potential witnesses on the streets.

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SBRC is hosting a free webinar which will include advice from police, fire and rescue, and the security sector on the risks and dangers faced by businesses.

Empty businesses across Scotland warned they could be easy target for thieves and vandals during lockdown

SBRC's David MacCrimmon said: "With most of us stranded in our homes, the clear and obvious place that burglars, arsonists and vandals will sadly be looking to will be our empty offices, clubs, bars and shops.

"This could range from a one-off break-in to steal alcohol from a bar, to an organised effort to steal valuable assets.

"But businesses can limit their exposure to the risk - and there are reasonable steps they can still be taking to protect their premises while sticking to lockdown advice. This webinar will give us a chance to fully explain some of those options and for those that sign up to ask questions."

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As part of its advice, the webinar will cover tips on what to remove from the premises, what to leave in windows, as well as how and when to safely visit.

Gary Wood, a watch commander with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: "With many businesses temporarily closed due to the current Government restrictions on Covid-19, premises may now be unoccupied.

"Fire does not discriminate and can strike at any time including periods of unprecedented situations such as the global pandemic we currently face. But with a number of straightforward steps, it is possible to appropriately manage fire risk within your temporarily vacant premises.

"The watchwords are 'Protect the building - Protect the business'. There can be a link between fire risk and criminality in terms of the risk of wilful fire-raising."

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