TEENAGE joyriders who stole a car as a man was unloading the boot took it on a terrifying rush-hour rampage which caused thousands of pounds of damage.
Police say the carjackers put the lives of other motorists and pedestrians in grave danger on what has been described as a rampage through the city.
Last night officers condemned the culprits, saying it’s a miracle someone wasn’t killed.
“The youths responsible for this vehicle theft put not only their own lives in danger, but the lives of other motorists and pedestrians and we are keen to trace them as soon as possible,” a police spokesman said.
A 62-year-old man was unloading the boot of his Vauxhall Astra on Friday at about 8.40am when the two carjackers sneaked into the vehicle and sped off.
They raced along Lochend Road as parents took their children to nearby Hermitage Primary and headed along Lochend Road, Smokey Brae and along Duddingston Road West, colliding with other vehicles on the way.
Police found the Astra abandoned on Craigmillar Castle Avenue near Castlebrae High.
It is estimated the damage caused to a number of parked cars they hit will run into thousands.
A police source said: “Inquiries are continuing to ascertain exactly what happened. What we do know is this was very serious. The incident happened at one of the busiest times of the week in terms of traffic. A number of cars have been damaged as a result of this dangerous driving.
“It’s a miracle they didn’t crash or hit someone else and seriously injure or kill them. Their act shows a wanton disregard for public safety. To take a car while it is actually being used is a rare event.
“We would advise people to be on their guard and to report any information they may have.”
Lochend Councillor Alex Lunn has condemned those responsible.
He said: “This sort of irresponsible and stupid behaviour can’t be tolerated. There could have been serious consequences. Someone could have been killed. I’m confident though that the police will bring them to justice swiftly.”
Mr Lunn added that “by and large” the area was a safe place but called for more CCTV cameras throughout East Edinburgh.
It is understood the Lochend and Restalrig area has become hotspot for young joyriders. Earlier this year 18-year-old Keir Rodger, from Restalrig, was involved in a high-speed chase across the Capital.
Councillor Lunn added that in recent weeks, there had been complaints about groups of teenagers and men in their early 20s causing problems.
The suspects are described only as being white and in their mid-teens. One was wearing a black long-sleeved T-shirt, while the other was wearing a white T-shirt.