CALLOUS thieves are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to steal from city centre properties, official figures suggest.

Figures obtained by the Glasgow Times via a Freedom of Information request show the number of housebreakings, successful or attempted, of all premises in the area almost doubled from the same period last year.

Official crime stats show that in April there have been 29 attempted or successful break-ins in the city centre, compared to just 16 during the same month last year.

There were 24 confirmed or attempted break-ins of “other premises” during the period, suggesting thieves are targeting shops and restaurants closed during lockdown.

There were four of such offences in homes, and one in a non-dwelling house.

We previously told you how a knife-wielding thug was caught on camera breaking in to Mini Grill on Bath Street.

And Where the Monkey Sleeps on Argyle Street also fell victim to thieves.

Across the city, however, the vast majority of crime is down during the lockdown period.

Serious assault and sexual crimes have dramatically fallen compared to the previous year, with drugs possession and offensive weapon crimes also down.

Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren, Divisional Commander for Greater Glasgow, said: “It is very encouraging that there has been a reduction in crime in Glasgow City Centre in April 2020, compared to the same month last year.

“This demonstrates the incredible work being done by officers in the area on a daily basis to keep the public safe.

“While there has been success in decreasing the overall crime figures, we will not become complacent and the increase in the number of housebreakings in the area means we must work with partner agencies to reduce these figures.

“The extraordinary circumstances we found ourselves in during April may have had an impact on the figures, especially given the reduction in footfall in the city centre.

“The public also have a vital role to play in our efforts to reduce crime by taking appropriate prevention steps, both in relation to their personal safety and the security of their homes, businesses and vehicles.”