Edinburgh boutique shopkeeper’s shock at theft

Police are investigating after a range of high-value handbags were stolen from a store in the city centre.
Police are investigating after a range of high-value handbags were stolen from a store in the city centre.
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A SHOPKEEPER today spoke of her shock after daring thieves used a 40ft ladder to break into her New Town store and steal tens of thousands of pounds worth of luxury handbags.

Shirley Burnett said she “nearly had a heart attack” after discovering the robbery at her Handbag Heaven store in Howe Street.

The thieves made off with 130 designer handbags, as well as belts, scarves and sunglasses, during the raid in the early hours of Monday

morning.

The robbers scaled the rear of the premises with a ladder to reach its back windows before disabling the alarm inside and spending 30 minutes collecting their haul.

The devastated owner and her staff are now trawling sites such as Gumtree and eBay in case the robbers try to sell the merchandise.

Bags from Prada, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton were among the haul

stolen while an “extremely rare” Hermes Vintage Classic 1954 bag worth £750 was taken.

Mrs Burnett, 53, said: “I discovered the break-in when I came to open up on Monday morning. I nearly had a heart attack. I was just rigid, unable to move. The outside shutters were all perfect so nothing seemed wrong till I got inside.

“They came in through the back, which we didn’t think was vulnerable because there’s a sheer 30ft drop. We’re on the ground floor at the front but at the back there’s a basement level. We still had locks and sensors but we thought it would be safe.

“The thieves have used a 40ft painter’s ladder, which they left lying in the garden. They smashed a window and opened a lock. Once inside they have got the alarm panel and ripped it off the wall so it never went off properly.

“The police found CCTV of a car which they believe was used. The CCTV shows it was about 30 minutes from the thieves arriving until they leave again in the car.

“They were on camera arriving at 4.20am on Monday so they’ve picked a time when he streets would be quiet. It was also a bank holiday weekend. They may have believed we were shut on the Monday too.”

The stolen items included a Jimmy Choo perforated tan leather handbag with a double gold bangle, which was on sale for £700. An Alexander McQueen knuckle design clutch purse on sale for £680 was taken, as well as a Louis Vuitton large hobo bag worth £610, both second-hand.

Mrs Burnett said: “They cleared out the shop but left the bags in the window because if they were gone it would raise suspicions. It was clearly a well-planned robbery.

“I wouldn’t like to put a figure on the losses. It would be more than five figures but we’re still going through it all. A lot of the items were one-offs, you wouldn’t get them ­anywhere else, so they would be hard to sell.”

Pc Gavin Howat said: “Anyone who is offered any handbags matching the description of these is asked to contact police immediately.”