POLICE have warned Robert Kelbie – the figure at the centre of a gangland shooting – not to seek revenge for the disturbing attack, it was claimed today.
The businessman is understood to have been given a “reverse Osman warning” by police desperate to avert a possible war on the streets.
The police warning was made following an audacious attack on a house belonging to Kelbie, 30, in Ratho Station.
It was blasted by a gunman, believed to have made his escape on a dark coloured motorbike, on Monday evening. A subsequent daylight search of the area for evidence led to the A8 being closed, causing traffic chaos.
Detectives, who described the gun volley as “significant”, would not comment on any warning issued, stating that such steps would be a “matter of confidentiality”.
However, it comes as rumours abound that a gangland enforcer, recently out of jail, was the gunman who struck at 9.30pm on Sunday.
Underworld sources named this as a known associate of jailed drug dealer Mark Richardson, with whom Kelbie has been embroiled in a long- running feud, as the shooter.
The man is suspected of carrying out previous gun attacks in Edinburgh, including blasting the home of a Kelbie friend several years ago. Detectives said they could not comment on his alleged involvement.
Sources have suggested that Richardson, 26, ordered the attack on Kelbie’s home while others believe the Inch gang leader would not have sanctioned the hit as he nears a parole hearing for his release.
Ex-boxer Kelbie was shot in the back outside Bannatyne’s Health Club at Newcraighall on October 20, 2010. No-one has ever been arrested over that shooting, which has been linked to Richardson. The day after Kelbie was shot, a gang attacked a man at a Portobello yard owned by Richardson’s father, Mark snr.
A source said: “Kelbie has been warned not to take revenge. The police gave him a ‘reverse Osman’ because they’re afraid it’ll all kick off.”
Another source said: “It’s widely known who the shooter was. He’s just out of jail and desperate for money. He was previously Richardson’s enforcer for west Edinburgh. He’s dangerous and has a history for these kind of attacks.”
After Kelbie was shot in 2010, police acknowledged that Kelbie had a “long list of enemies”. Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are keen to trace the rider of a dark coloured motorbike that was present on the north carriageway of the A8.”
The house was occupied at the time of the shooting but no-one was hurt.
AN “Osman letter” warning is issued to the targets of murder plots when the police do not have enough evidence to make an arrest.
Last April, it was revealed Lothian and Borders Police issued 11 Threat to Life Warning Notices in 2011 but just three in 2010. “Reverse Osman warnings” are given to people the police believe may pose a threat.