Revellers attending a joint 40th birthday cum-New Year’s Eve bash at the Evergreen Hall in Dovecote Street heard rustling behind a curtained stage just after seeing in 2020.
Seconds later, an intruder was heard scrambling out of a kitchen window and fleeing, scattering several items of DJ-ing equipment he’d pilfered in the process.
That gear belonged to Hawick disc jockey Jamie Gent, but he had left the party just before the thief struck.
Mr Gent, 31, said: “It could have been a really bad start to 2020, but it worked out in the end.
“It happened just after midnight on New Year’s Day, between 12.15am and 12.45am. There was a party on, a 40th birthday-cum-new year celebration. I was doing the disco for them and left at 12.15am and then I went away and got a phone call at 12.45am to ask me to come back down because someone had sneaked in or got in through a window at the back.
“The stage curtain was shut, and all my stuff was behind the curtain, and somebody heard someone kicking about in there, and the next thing we know they’d sneaked out through the kitchen window.
“My two laptops, a Samsung tablet and a TV, along with various other items, were found out the back as they’d been dropped when the thief was disturbed.
“At the time, they had just seen in the new year and there were still maybe 20 or 30 people in the hall, so they tried to do this under folks’ noses.
“You don’t expect anyone to be trying to do something like this on New Year’s Eve. It’s the second time I’ve had a laptop stolen or someone has tried to steal it. The last time was several months ago.
“Thankfully, I got the equipment back this time and it wasn’t the bad start to the new year it could have been.
“We don’t have a description of whoever did this because it was just so dark.
“The police came down and took statements, which is not the thing you want to do on New Year’s Day.”
Potential witnesses are asked to call police on 101, quoting incident No 0331 of January 1.