Police Scotland is urging rural business owners to ensure they have robust security measures in place following two break-ins.
Officers received a report at around 12.30am on Tuesday October 17, that a store at The Square, Tarves, had been targeted. Entry was forced and goods were taken.
On Wednesday morning another report was received that a store at Main Street in Methlick had also been targeted overnight. Entry was again forced, however nothing was taken.
Detective Sergeant George Nixon, who is leading enquiries, said: "This is the second time the store at Methlick has been targeted in less than a month which is completely unacceptable. Crime of this nature is generally extremely rare in the village, so to have two similar incidents reported to us in such a short space of time won't be tolerated.
"Enquiries into both incidents overnight are ongoing and anyone with information that could assist is urged to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.
"Both break-ins took place through the night when the areas and roads would have been quiet so if you were out and about and saw anything unusual, please let us know.
"I would also appeal to business owners in small communities across the North East to ensure your premises are locked and secure when you leave tonight and that you have appropriate security measures in place.
"Robust locks and safes are crucial to keep stock safe, while appropriate alarms and security lights can help bolster security. I would also advise against keeping large amounts of cash on the premises and to keep high-value items locked away.
"It is also important that you keep a note of any suspicious people who might visit your business that you don't recognise as being from the area and cause you concern. It is entirely possible that those responsible are not local and might come in beforehand to scope out your set-up.
"A great deal of proactive police work is carried out on a daily basis to ensure the areas you live in are as safe as they possibly can be, however if the worst does happen it is vital you have robust security measures in place to ensure potential thieves don’t stand a chance.
"For general crime prevention advice and tips on how to keep your business secure, you can speak to your local Community Policing Team by dialling 101."