Police release CCTV footage in hunt for thugs

Police have asked if anyone recognises three men captured on CCTV
Police have asked if anyone recognises three men captured on CCTV
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DETECTIVES today released new CCTV images as part of their hunt for three thugs, including a robber who held up a teenage boy at knifepoint on board a Lothian bus.

The security camera pictures also shows two people whom police want to trace in connection with an attack in a city shop.

One of the three men caught in CCTV images

One of the three men caught in CCTV images

The images were released as part of Operation Arable, a fresh crackdown on robberies and muggings in Edinburgh.

The first incident took place at around 3.15pm on Sunday, January 23 last year after a 15-year-old boy was threatened and robbed of his mobile phone while travelling on the number 14 Lothian bus.

The man seen in the CCTV image, whom police are seeking in connection with the incident, is described as white, around 21 years old, slim, broad shoulders, with gaunt facial features, and wearing a dark blue zipped top with silver panels down both sides, and a Hearts scarf.

In the second incident, which happened in the early hours of Wednesday, January 26 last year, a 27-year-old man was in Scotmid in Nicolson Street when he was involved in an argument with two men, one of whom punched him, knocking him unconscious and breaking his jaw.

The men police are seeking to speak to are described as white, and 20 to 25 years old. The first is 5ft 8in tall, medium build, with short brown hair, while the other is 5ft 11in to 6ft 1in with a medium build and short brown hair.

Police said they had carried out various lines of inquiry in relation to both of the incidents, and had now received approval from the Crown Office to release the CCTV footage.

A police spokesman said: “We want anyone who recognises these individuals featured in the CCTV images to contact us. Likewise, anyone else who has any other information that can assist our inquiries should also get in touch.”

Earlier this month, police released CCTV footage in a bid to trace two men in connection with a late-night attack on a good Samaritan outside the same 24-hour Scotmid store.

The 25-year-old victim needed surgery on a broken jaw when he was assaulted after apparently intervening in an argument between a security guard and two men at 3.45am on December 17.

Operation Arable saw dedicated patrols carried out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – the days which usually see a spike in muggings – earlier this month. Police have identified midnight to 4am as the worst time for muggings, with the culprits often trying to take advantage of revellers on nights out.

A total of 280 street robberies were recorded last year in the city, up 19 per cent on the previous year’s figure of 235.

Anyone with any information on any of the men shown in the newly released CCTV images is asked to contact police on 0131-311 3131, or Crimestoppers in anonymity on 0800-555 111.

FIVE CHARGED IN CRACKDOWN ON STREET CRIME

FIVE men have been arrested and charged with a number of offences during the first two weeks of the Operation Arable blitz against muggings and street crimes. The men were charged with offences including theft, possession of a weapon and of drugs and breaches of licence.

Since February 15, officers have undertaken regular patrols in areas where intelligence has shown muggers are likely to be operating.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Cunningham said: “Muggings and street crime can have a serious impact on our communities’ confidence.”