A north tattoo artist has spoken of his admiration for the local community after suffering a devastating break-in at his studio in Grantown.
Dmitri Sobczak, who set up shop on the town’s High Street in September, discovered thieves had forced entry to his Dark Trinity Art Tattoo Studio sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning.
The 37-year-old was left devastated as thieves made off with thousands of pounds worth of high-end equipment.
However, he has been left feeling “blessed” by offers of kindness and support through the troubled time.
Mr Sobszak said: “I went to the studio on Friday just to check that everything was okay in the shop.
“I had a big window in the door and that was broken and they had gone through.
“They knew exactly what they were looking for.
“They stole all my machines, all my needles and power supplies – so the most expensive equipment in the studio.
“I had a DSLR camera, a TV and a stereo amplifier but all of that was left.
“They basically left with two bags worth £4,500 to £5,000.”
Mr Sobczak fears the equipment will not be recovered, with police currently carrying out investigations to identify the culprits.
He added: “The thieves didn’t leave much evidence behind. It was a pretty clean sweep.
“Thankfully they didn’t trash the place. If they had, I would be in even bigger trouble.”
Mr Sobczak has praised the response from the local community, which he has described as “incredible”, also praising an offer from Gary Valentine of Inverness Tattoo Centre, who has offered to lend equipment to allow him to get back on his feet.
He added: “I don’t even know Gary but he messaged me and said if I needed anything he is more than happy to provide equipment.
“Even EZ Tattoo, my supplier for ink cartridges, have been fantastic and they sold me an order with a big discount because it costs hundreds of pounds to replace that.
“People have been coming together to help me which I appreciate more than ever.”
The tattoo artist has said that even if the stolen guns are recovered, he will not use them again.
He added: “I do not know which hands it was in and because I deal with blood, I have to be very careful about that.
“Whoever stole it, they are not going to be a professional person and it is going to have been used inefficiently.”
Despite the setback, the Russian native refuses to allow it to affect his outlook on his adopted home.
He said: “I love Grantown on Spey with all my heart and I am pretty sure I am going to die here.
“It is the most beautiful place in the world and I feel blessed living here and to be part of this community.”
Anybody with any information is urged to contact police on 101.