A man has appeared in court in connection with a crime spree in two north-east towns.
Twelve businesses, including charity shops and Macduff lifeboat station, were raided between Friday night and Saturday morning.
Yesterday, Ian Thomson appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court in connection with the incidents.
The 29-year-old, of Banff, faces charges of breaking into two properties, theft from a property and attempting to break into eight other businesses with the intent of stealing.
He made no plea or declaration during the brief private hearing, and the case was continued.
His appearance comes as councillors prepare to grill police chiefs today on figures that show detection rates for various crimes – including housebreakings – have fallen in the last year.
The stats, from April to September 2015, highlight that thefts across the north-east have risen and that fewer people are being caught for crimes of housebreaking compared to the same period in 2014.
Opposition councillors have slammed the report, and claim it highlights a “marked dip” in detection rates.
They claimed last night that “resource pressures” were partly to blame for a drop in detection rates – pointing out the housebreaking stats as a concern.
Detection rates for the crime have fallen 4.2% from last year and the number of people breaking into properties has risen from 174 to 214.
The figures compared with the same timescale last year show common thefts across Aberdeenshire have also risen.
Motor vehicle crime has risen from 191 to 215 and detection rates have dropped from 27.3% to 25.6%.
Common theft has gone down from 492 incidents to 461, however detection rates have dropped from 25% to 21.5%.
Former council leader – and leader of the opposing Aberdeenshire Alliance – Jim Gifford said: “We have some major issues with the police figures.
“There are far too many in the red showing crime going up and detection rates going down and the house breaking figures show this very starkly.”
He claimed the recently-announced merger of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray division would only divert resources to the city.
Liberal Democrat group leader Karen Clark said: “This is a huge concern for us. The public and our communities in the north-east are paying a heavy price for the SNP’s centralising of the police.”
But SNP councillor John Cox – from the ruling Partnership group – insisted: “I’ve never had such good engagement with Police Scotland since the introduction of the central police force – but the reality is the Scottish budget is constrained.
“This is why we need the levers of power to strengthen our economy to pay for more public services. I appreciate there was the incident that happened last weekend, but in the scale of things that was a one-off.”
However, the figures also show serious assaults are down from 48 occurrences to 40 and the rates of detection are up from 85.4% to 92.5%.
Likewise, incidents of vandalism have gone up from 630 to 675 and detection rates are up from 22.2% to 24.1%.
Vice-chairman of the policy and resources committee and council co-leader, Richard Thomson, said the purpose of today’s policy and resources meeting was to hold the force to account.
“The effectiveness of the local scrutiny process depends very much on the willingness and ability of councillors to engage with it,” he said.
“I’m sure that members from all groupings will be seeking to do that as constructively as they can at committee.”
A police spokeswoman declined to comment on the figures until they were discussed at today’s policy and resources meeting.