A SANDWICH shop is counting the cost after becoming the latest victim of a spate of break-ins across the Capital.
Let Me Eat, on Holyrood Road, is the sixth business to have its safe raided by thieves in six weeks.
The owners of the popular deli near the Scottish Parliament believe a gang smashed a window to gain access in the early hours of Monday.
It follows a similar incident at South Bridge burger restaurant Rascals, which had £5000 stolen at around the same time.
Police say there was no evidence to link the two cases, however detectives are investigating a string of similar break-ins to small shops across the Capital since mid-December.
Two Greggs bakeries and two Subway branches in Bruntsfield, Stockbridge and Pilton have been targeted since December 17.
In each incident, safes were either removed or emptied – and three of the concrete-lined units were later dumped on a muddy path in Inverleith.
The spate of robberies has prompted fears that professional thieves are targeting small stores as an “easy hit”. Let Me Eat co-owner Peter Belcer said the thieves got away with a “few thousand pounds” from the till and safe.
It is believed they struck between 2am and 6am on Monday morning, after a delivery.
Mr Belcer said: “I’m gutted, but everybody is alive and no-one was harmed, and it’s just the money. It’s an extreme inconvenience.
“The police told me there had been a few cases of this over the past few weeks.
“It seems to have been a professional team who know what they are doing. They will not stop until the police catch them, or they change cities. Police told me that they will hopefully find them, but they said they could also come back. I’m living in fear now.”
Unlike the Rascals incident – in which the culprits caused extensive damage to the back office – nothing else was damaged or vandalised.
“They didn’t take anything except money and the safe and they didn’t break anything other than the window,” said Mr Belcer.
“We have checked CCTV but there is nothing on memory card because for some reason it was off. There’s CCTV across the street but police are checking that. The question is if it was pointing at the shop.”
A police spokeswoman said inquiries were ongoing into all six incidents.
She said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigating following a break-in on Holyrood Road in the early hours of Monday, where a safe containing a four-figure sum of cash was stolen.”
A retired senior police officer said a gang of several robbers was likely to be responsible for the spate.
The source said: “Breaking in to shops is in some ways more risky than dwelling houses. You can be certain there is no-one there at night, but there are often alarms and CCTV.
“They are obviously picking off similar targets.
“The trouble is, you get copycats – and if you start to assume all these incidents are linked, it can cause problems for the investigation.”