Tiny Hebridean island inhabited by 26 people has been hit by its first crime in decades – a raid on its only shop

June 16, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Police are investigating the first crime on a remote island in more than 50 YEARS after its only store was raided.

Isle of Canna taken from neighbouring Island Rhum (SWNS)

Isle of Canna taken from neighbouring Island Rhum (SWNS)

The tiny Isle of Canna, located in the Inner Hebrides, has a population of just 26 and no police station as it normally has a crime rate of zero.

But thieves cleared the shelves of the community-run shop and made off with sweets, toiletries, batteries, and even hand-knitted bobble hats made by the shop’s manager.

The theft involved only £200 worth of goods, but locals said said they were “gutted” as the last reported crime on the island was in the 1960s.

It involved a carved wooden plate which was stolen from the Rhu Church and never recovered.

The shop, which was targeted over the weekend, is owned by the Isle of Canna Community Development Trust and is mainly run by local volunteers.

The opening ceremony of the Isle of Canna Community Shop in April 2013 (SWNS)

The opening ceremony of the Isle of Canna Community Shop in April 2013 (SWNS)

It is left unlocked around the clock and runs on an honesty system for purchases, so sailors and fishermen are able to access the free WiFi and tea-making facilities.

Julie McCabe, who runs the store with her partner, Stewart Connor, said the community had been left “gutted” by the theft.

She said: “We are all pretty gutted. I went down and noticed a lot of items were gone. All the sweets had been cleared out. I got that sinking feeling.

“There was no money taken, just groceries to the value of #200. I am absolutely floored that someone has been in and did that to our community.

“I set up the first community shop four years ago at the pier selling gifts and crafts. We got funding for the new shop which has allowed us to stock groceries.

“It has been really appreciated by visiting yachts people and fishermen. We are going to have to consider locking the door at night.

“It’s a shame because just now people can go in, make themselves a cup of tea or coffee, and use the free WiFi.

“We are thinking about putting CCTV in, but we don’t want to do that because it goes against the whole honesty idea.

“When you live on a small island like this you have to trust your neighbour and everybody round about.

“We don’t know who did it. There were 17 yachts in the other night and there was a fishing boat at the pier.

“We are appealing to them if they saw or heard anything. At first I wasn’t going to report it because it was an honesty system, but the police were happy we did.

“I phoned our community police officer at Mallaig on the mainland and they will be investigating.”

Isle of Canna Community Shop (SWNS)

Isle of Canna Community Shop (SWNS)

The theft took place at some point between Friday evening and Saturday morning, and was later reported to the police.

Officers said they are now looking to speak with the crew of a fishing vessel that was docked at the pier over the weekend.

Local councillor Bill Clark, whose Maillaig and Caol ward includes Canna, said: “I’m amazed. It must have been visitors.

“That is astonishing. I just can’t believe that has happened because you just don’t hear about these things happening in the Inner Isles.

“I am very surprised to hear that it is very unfortunate. I’m sure the people who live on Canna don’t even lock their doors.”



A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “The incident is believed to have occurred between 8pm on Friday and 8am on the Saturday.

“It was reported to police on the Sunday at around 4pm. It was the theft of hand-knitted hats, confectionery, and toiletries.

“As part of the inquiries we are looking to trace a fishing vessel that was docked at the Canna pier at the time of the incident.

“If anyone has any information they are asked to contact Police on 101.”

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