POLICE are hunting “incredibly brazen” thieves who apparently used sledgehammers to break into a luxury store, stealing handbags worth £80,000.
The Louis Vuitton store in Edinburgh - which sells handbags worth up to £25,000 each - was left with a gigantic hole in its front window following the bold raid this morning.
It was smashed by two thieves at 3:45am, who then made off with a number of designer handbags in a silver saloon getaway car.
The Multrees Walk pedestrianised shopping street also stables outlets Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger and is next to Harvey Nichols.
The gigantic jagged hole in the window of Louis Vuitton appeared to show blow marks from the sledgehammer and staff could be seen inside making good the damage through the morning and afternoon.
DI Graham Grant said: “Despite the early time of this break-in, this was an incredibly brazen incident in an area that sees regular footfall throughout the day.
“We are carrying out various lines of inquiry in the area in an effort to trace the suspects and are now appealing to the public for their assistance.
“It is believed these males have travelled there on foot and so I would appeal to anyone who has seen these men, their vehicle, before during or after this incident, or who has information on the whereabouts of the handbags is asked to contact police.”
The first suspect is described as white, around 30-years-old, about 6ft tall with a slim build and a prominent nose. He was wearing a grey hooded top with the hood up and black beanie hat, dark trousers and black trainers.
The second suspect is described as being white, between 5ft 8ins and 5ft 10ins tall with a medium build and wearing a grey hooded top and dark bottoms.
The street has been targeted in the past and bosses have twice promised to take extra security measures.
In 2006 managers said they would step up security after thieves smashed their way into a G-Star outlet using a car, making off with over £17,000 worth of clothing.
And bosses renewed their promises in 2009 after a ram raid on the Mulberry store in late December of the year before allowed crooks to make off with £15,000 worth of handbags.
But speaking today, a local store manager who asked not to be named questioned the the management of security in the complex, which calls itself “the definition of luxury shopping in Edinburgh”.
She said: “It happened around 4am but I don’t know how it happened as there’s 24-hour security on the walk.
“There’s also CCTV all the way up the street.
“Usually there’s about two or three members of security during the day so probably less at night but they must have taken a while smashing that huge hole.
“I know there’s been attempts before, but in the middle of the glass which didn’t break, so this time they’ve gone for the weaker area - the bottom corner.
“They seem to have left all the smaller items like belts and the corner where they smashed is where the most expensive pieces are on display.
“The Burberry store was attempted a while ago but the person didn’t manage to smash it with a pole.”
Sean Davidson, sales assistant at Sandro,s aid: “As we’re such a close-knit community on Multrees, it’s awful to see something like this happen to one of our neighbours - especially this close to Christmas.
“Knowing the high level of round the clock security that we have in place on Multrees Walk, I’m shocked that they were able to smash their way into the store. It must have been incredibly well planned and executed.”