Desperate criminals twice tried to drag a safe from a Hallglen convenience store in an early-hours raid this morning - but had to flee empty-handed.
Shop owner Shraz Abdul-Khaliq told the Falkirk Herald how he found police already at the scene when he answered an alert at 4.15am - to find the bungling burglars had tried to force their way through a steel shutter.
“They had then managed to break the glass at the bottom of the door and crawl through”, he said.
“They tried to drag the safe out with a chain, but failed - then tried again using a vehicle, but the top ‘cosmetic’ part of the safe came away.”
Despite the trauma of the raid, and the havoc inside the shop, Mr Abdul-Khaliq had his store, at unit 5 in Hallglen shops, back up and running by 9.30am this morning - despite having had next to no sleep.
Shoppers who could see something serious had happened soon spread the word that their local shop had been targeted by criminals.
Mr Abdul-Khaliq said: “I can’t say enough for the local community here, who have been absolutely fantastic - they have all rallied round and been so supportive.
“To tell you the truth it is that which makes everything worthwhile”.
While shaken by the raid, he said his first instinct - after finding the break-in had been a failure - was to get his shop back in business as soon as possible.
He added: “I took over the shop in 2002, but we’ve had a presence here for about 40 years, and during that time have had a few break-in attempts - once they tried to get in the back.
“This time they have caused damage, but have failed to get away with anything”.
Police are understood to be studying CCTV footage which may yield important information about how the crime was carried out.
Anyone who can assist their investigation in any way should get in touch via 101.
Police were unable to comment on the incident today.