Brave shop workers have been praised after two attempted armed robberies were foiled in the same night.
A pair of men armed with knives left two different Glenrothes stores empty handed after staff refused to hand over money.
Police are investigating the incidents at RS McColl premises in North Street and Parbroath Road, which happened within 25 minutes of each other on Tuesday night.
Officers believe the would-be thieves may have used a vehicle or bikes to travel between the two shops in such a short space of time and have warned other local shopkeepers to remain vigilant.
The men entered the Parbroath Road store first, at 8.20pm but, despite threatening a staff member with a knife, left with nothing.
At 8.45pm they went into the North Street shop in the town centre, pointed a knife at a worker and demanded money and goods. Again, they left empty-handed.
Detective Inspector Chris Mill of Fife CID said: “Both of the staff members have shown great courage during what was a distressing experience and we are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry to trace the perpetrators.”
He added: “Given the distance between the two premises, it’s possible that a vehicle or bikes were used and we’re urging anyone in the local community who may have seen these men, or any suspicious vehicles in the area, to get in touch as soon as possible.
“We’d also ask any local business owners or staff members who may have seen the men described within their shop earlier in the day to contact us.”
Glenrothes councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of the protective services committee, said he was very concerned about the incidents, which he branded a sign of the times.
“Things seem to be going from bad to worse and I really don’t know where it’s going to end,” he said.
“Things are getting more out of hand every day and knives are becoming almost commonplace. I really don’t know what we, as a society, can do about it.”
Both suspects have been described as being in their early 20s and 5ft 8in tall.
One was of stocky build and had his face obscured.
He was wearing a black and white striped top, dark-coloured trousers and dark trainers.
The other was of medium build and also had his face covered.
He had on a dark grey hooded tracksuit top and light-coloured tracksuit bottoms with two dark-coloured pockets on the rear.
Police have pledged to use all resources at their disposal during their investigation and have asked anyone to report anything suspicious. Anyone with information about Tuesday’s incidents can contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 2924 of January 2, or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.