Business owners in Broughty Ferry are being forced to fork out more cash on social distancing stickers after a “bizarre” crime spree.
Visocchi’s Cafe on Gray Street and the Sweetpea Cafe on Brook Street are among a number of businesses who’ve had signs defaced or stolen in recent days.
Marco Caira, a partner at Visocchi’s said the situation is almost “laughable” as he dubbed the culprits the “Sticky Bandits” in homage to the dimwitted goons from the Home Alone movies.
The 33-year-old said: “The stickers outside our premises have lasted less than 24 hours. I’m actually almost lost for words with this.
“Local businesses are trying to open up as safely and responsibly as they can. We initially started with chalk to ensure people were adhering to safe distancing.
“Some people said it was leaving a ‘right mess on the pavement’. We then opted for a temporary paint but we were advised that had to be removed so we pressure-hosed that away.”
Marco said local business George Merchant’s suggested using stickers, so the cafe had them branded and installed on Wednesday, at a cost of £69.
He added: “As soon as I noticed a post from the Sweetpea Cafe yesterday, I checked our camera and noticed ours were gone.
“I realise there have been some issues from locals about the ‘mess’ these marking or stickers are leaving on foot paths.
“We put these stickers down as a measure just to remind people to gauge the line but some vigilante is obviously unhappy with this.”
Zoe Forbes, owner of the Sweetpea Café, had stickers outside her café for the past three weeks but two days ago some went missing or were vandalised.
Zoe said: “At first I didn’t think anything of it but then I saw Iced Gems across the road, and the bank have theirs missing as well.
“Others have been vandalised as someone has written ‘stop vandalising our pavements’ on them.”
She added: “They are expensive to replace, it is about £100 each time and whoever has done this has not taken this into consideration.
“I know social distancing has become the norm for a lot of people, but there are kids and those with learning difficulties that don’t always know how far two metres is, and sometimes people can forget and realise they are standing too close to someone else.
“These stickers are there for everyone and I can’t understand why someone has gone out of their way to vandalise them.”
Zoe is going to put more stickers out on the pavement, and plans to remove them as soon as social distancing measures are dropped.