Police are hunting a thug who mugged two lone women at knifepoint in the space of five minutes.
The man struck twice in the early evening, kicking and punching one woman as he attempted to steal her bag.
Police today appealed for witnesses and warned that it was not worth risking your safety to keep hold of possessions.
The first attack saw a 40-year-old woman targeted as she was walking along East Adam Street, off the Pleasance, at about 5.45pm when a man approached her.
He attempted to speak to her before grabbing her handbag and trying to pull it from her shoulder.
The victim held on to her bag and the attacker pulled her to the ground. He then pulled out a knife and punched and kicked her a number of times, although she is not believed to have been injured.
Witnesses in the area intervened and he made off towards Nicolson Street empty handed.
A short time later in Forrest Road, just a short walk away, a 31-year-old female was using the cash machine at the Royal Bank of Scotland at around 5.50pm. After withdrawing cash, the suspect approached her from behind and threatened her with a three to four-inch knife, demanding her money.
The victim handed over the money and the attacker walked off past Starbucks in the direction of Greyfriars Church.
Lothian and Borders Police acting sergeant Lynsey Thomson said: “The attacks have happened at random.
“The area would have been busy and there would have been quite a lot of people going about.
“The victims have both been lone females and it must have been a very frightening experience for both of them – particularly the fact that a knife has been presented and a woman has been forced to hang on to her bag.
“But it’s not advisable to try and keep a hold of your possessions – nothing is worth risking your own safety for.
“This is not a common occurrence and not a crime which has been happening a lot in this area, but we are keen to trace the culprit before anything else does happen.
“It has been busy and light and hopefully there will be witnesses who have not yet spoken to us.”
In both incidents, the suspect is described as male, white, between 5ft 5ins and 5ft 7ins, skinny build and pale complexion with gaunt features and unkempt appearance.
He was wearing a baseball cap, possibly white in colour, with dark writing and a pale blue or light-coloured jumper with dark-coloured horizontal stripes on the body and sleeves.