Jewel heist gang ‘targeted £325k diamond necklace’

The �325,000 Chatila necklace. Picture: Police Scotland

The �325,000 Chatila necklace. Picture: Police Scotland

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DETECTIVES investigating the £1.3 million heist at a famous city jewellers believe the gang targeted a prized diamond necklace worth £325,000 – a quarter of the total value of the robbery.

It comes as fresh clues emerged about last month’s daylight raid on Hamilton and Inches in George Street that saw three masked men escape in a getaway car with holdalls stuffed with watches and gems.

The robbery took place last month.  Picture: Scott Taylor

The robbery took place last month. Picture: Scott Taylor

Police have revealed that a second getaway vehicle – a dark blue Honda CRV –found at East Pilton Farm Rigg, off Ferry Road, last Tuesday is linked to the robbery.

Detective Inspector Carol Craig, who is leading the inquiry, said the thieves had “done a reccy” before launching the brazen raid wielding hammers and axes.

And she said they “knew exactly what they were looking for”.

The high-value necklace was produced by exclusive jewellery manufacturers Chatila. The robbers also took a set of Chatila earrings worth £95,000.

“We knew that a second vehicle was involved but we didn’t have the make or model,” said DI Craig. “Now we are quite comfortable that we have found it.

“The response we have had from members of the public to this very serious incident has been terrific so far. But those responsible have still to be identified and we hope that the recovery of the Honda CRV could prove crucial.

“We are appealing for anyone who may have seen the vehicle being driven in Stockbridge around the time of the robbery, or being dumped at East Pilton Farm Rigg, to come forward.”

It has also emerged the thieves made off with jewellery worth more than £800,000 from window displays alone.

Among the stolen items were diamond rings ranging from £3525 to £61,000 in price and eight Patek Phillipe watches costing between £22,000 to £66,000.

DI Craig said the second vehicle in north Edinburgh could provide a breakthrough in the police investigation.

The gang were initially seen entering a white BMW car, which was recovered a short time later in Gloucester Lane. It has taken three weeks to locate the second vehicle near Ferry Road.

It is thought the car – which may have been carrying four people – was driven north along Gloucester Street on to Kerr Street and through the main Stockbridge thoroughfare towards Raeburn Place.

The Honda, a late 2007 model, was found in a car park opposite the Ainslie Park Leisure Centre.

Like the first getaway vehicle, it had not been burned out and DI Craig said the gang may have become “spooked”.

The first batch of forensic results are expected some time next week, and police are now examining fresh CCTV footage which may contain the second getaway car.

DI Craig said: “We are leaving no stone unturned. No matter how small it might seem, we are following up everything. We are confident we are going to identify the persons involved.

“We are getting nearer and nearer. Now we have recovered the second getaway car, it is all coming together.”

She added: “This was clearly a very high-value robbery and the items involved were very precious pieces of jewellery.

“It was also a frightening experience for the staff at the shop and we are working hard to establish exactly what happened.”