A Highland businessman is counting the cost after callous thieves raided his Grantown store stealing more than £50,000 worth of mountain biking equipment.
BaseCamp Bikes was targeted by robbers on Friday night at some point between 10pm and midnight.
It is the latest incident in a spate of similar break-ins which police last night said could be linked.
Last month a series of top-end mountain bikes were stolen from a Highland social enterprise.
A total of eight Polygon Siskiu T8 mountain bikes worth around £12,800 were taken from Laggan Wolftrax visitors centre.
Twelve mountain bikes of various makes and models – worth around £39,500 – and more than £3,000 of clothing were also taken from the nearby bike hire shop, The Wee Bike Hub.
Last night business owner Lindsay Carruthers said he now faces an uphill struggle to recoup what has been lost.
He said: “In the current climate it’s going to be tough to get back on our feet but we do also specialise in the service and repair of high end mountain bikes and suspension.
“That is the main stay of our business and this side of business is thankfully unaffected and we can get back to this straight away.
“It’s very hard to accept after such a challenging 12 months but we have to try to be positive and look at how we move forward from here.”
The thieves made off with a total of 12 mountain bikes and seven mountain bike frames of varying brands including Banshee, Evil, Rocky Mountain and Yeti.
A large quantity of clothing and various other items were also removed from the property during the raid.
The haul is expected to be worth more than £50,000.
Police have confirmed no concrete links have been found between the incidents however, officers said they are “keeping an open mind to any and all possibilities”.
The devastated owner acknowledged stores like theirs can become a target for thieves and urged anyone with information, no matter how big or small, to come forward.
He added: “Anything like this obviously comes as a shock. You are always aware of how prolific these thefts are in the cycle trade and do what you can to avoid it but unfortunately the nature of selling high end mountain bikes does make you a bigger target for criminals like these.
“The businesses they are targeting are lifestyle businesses that people put their heart and soul into and thefts such as these can set you back years of hard work if not be the ruin of many, but I doubt the people committing these crimes have any conscience whatsoever.
“The local community has been very good so far at coming forward with information but any additional information no matter how small could make a difference to the police inquiries.”
Grantown councillor John Bruce condemned the robbers for their “appalling” actions.
He said: “I’m absolutely appalled by such a huge theft and I hope they are recovered quickly because it represents quite a lot of business for that shop.
“I’m very concerned because this is the second big burglary in about two weeks.”
He added: “I think the bike people haven’t been doing as badly as some but during this appalling time that we are in just now, I think it’s very sad that such a large haul should be stolen from a local shop.”
Officers also received reports of the theft of a Land Rover and high-sided agricultural trailer from a premises in the Kingussie area on the same evening.
Police believe the incidents are linked and inquiries remain ongoing.
Detectives from Aviemore CID have now launched and appeal for information in an effort to catch those responsible.
Detective Sergeant Andy Bilton said: “We are appealing for anyone who may have seen or heard anything in and around this area and who may be able to assist with our inquiries to get in touch. We would particularly appeal to anyone who may have observed this Land Rover and trailer, or any other large vehicle capable of transporting this quantity of bikes, in the area around these times.”
Anyone with information is being urged to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.