Off-licence staff threatened by knifepoint in double raid

Staff at High Spirits on Slateford Road were threatened at knifepoint in two raids. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Staff at High Spirits on Slateford Road were threatened at knifepoint in two raids. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A SHOP owner has told how a double raid on his Capital store in a little over 48 hours has left staff terrified.

The High Spirits off-licence on Slateford Road was hit on Saturday night and again on Monday evening by a masked robber.

Police have now launched a manhunt, believing the same raider is responsible after hundreds of pounds of cash was stolen.

“It was very frightening because what happened on Saturday was going through my mind also,” said the 45-year-old owner, who was behind the till during Monday’s raid at 9.45pm.

He described the terrifying moment the robber came into the store brandishing a blade and snarling at staff.

“The guy came in with a hood on and a blue carrier bag wrapped around the front of his face.”

“He was carrying a knife about six inches long and came right up to the counter waving it in front of us.

“He told us not to hit the panic button and I just made sure I got both me and my member of staff in the storage room because it’s got a robust door. It’s left us shaken up and we’re not open today until we get new security measures in place.”

The suspect is described as white, aged in his mid to late twenties, 5ft 8ins tall, of solid or medium build with a pale complexion, slightly blotchy skin and strawberry blond hair.

He was wearing a blue hooded top with dark blue sleeves and white bands on the arms, jeans, grey trainers and a woolly hat with a blue plastic bag covering the bottom of his face.

He fled towards Stewart Terrace with more than £100 in a cash box after trying and failing to get into the till.

A 22-year-old assistant was pushed to the floor but unhurt in Saturday’s raid at 8.40pm during which a similar amount of cash was taken.

In that raid, the suspect was wearing a grey hooded top with white bands on the arms and dark colouring on the lower half of the sleeves and front pockets, grey jogging bottoms and grey trainers with white soles.

Detectives believe he may have been loitering in the area for some time and was wearing a white dust mask, prompting suspicious passers-by to call police.

The same store was robbed back in February after three off-licences were targeted in a day – but police have since charged a man for those raids.

“We’ve been here for four years and nothing like this happened until the last three months – it’s a good area so obviously it could be people coming from outside the area,” said the owner.

The store is now installing a glass screen to protect 
counter staff and CCTV outside – in addition to cameras covering inside – at a cost of £5000.

“It’s a lot of money for a small business like us,” said the owner. “But the screen will stop staff being in harm’s way.

“One of the problems around here is there’s no CCTV and it’s not very well lit so the police aren’t able to see where people come from and where they go to.”

Detective Constable Kevin Walls said: “This is the second time in a matter of days this store has been targeted and we’re working with the staff to provide all the relevant support and crime prevention advice.

“If you can help us identify the suspect, or remember seeing anything suspicious around the premises, then please contact police immediately.

“In addition, we’d also urge those with any further information relevant to this inquiry to get in touch.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk