Police are on the hunt for a gang of teenage thugs after two violent muggings were carried out in the space of just two hours on the same street.
The incidents in the Lauder Road area of Dalkeith saw two men assaulted and robbed by hoodie-wearing youths as they made their way home alone late at night.
The first man was attacked by a group of four males – one of them riding a BMX – as he stood at a bus stop on Lauder Road, opposite Bruce Gardens, at around 12.30am on Sunday.
The 23-year-old was dragged on to a grassy area where he was then robbed of his wallet and mobile phone before being assaulted.
The suspects are thought to be in their mid-teens, with two of them wearing hooded tops.
Just two hours later, another man was pounced on by two youths as he walked down Lauder Road at around 2.30am.
The victim was punched in the head from behind, causing him to drop his iPhone 6, which was snatched by one attacker while the other demanded he hand over his wallet. The man managed to escape, while the thugs were last seen heading in the direction of Bruce Gardens.
Both suspects are described as being white, slim and aged between 16 and 20 years old, with one wearing a dark hooded top and dark joggers and the other sporting short light hair. The first is believed to have spoken with a local accent.
Detective Constable Mandy Cummings said: “Both incidents were particularly vicious and it would appear the attackers were targeting people who were on their own and on foot. At this stage we are keeping an open mind that these offences are linked but we need the assistance of the public to ensure the suspects are traced.”
Councillor Alex Bennett, who represents Dalkeith, said: “The police know who it is – it’s the same crowd – but they don’t seem to be doing much about it. Since Police Scotland was set up it’s just got worse.”
The incidents came just hours after a woman was attacked and robbed in Bonnyrigg late on Saturday night. The 21-year-old was walking near an RBS cash machine on the High Street when she was assaulted from behind and knocked unconscious, waking to find her purse, bank card and cash stolen.
The woman received minor injuries to her head and was treated by ambulance crews at the scene. It is believed one man was involved in the mugging.