Police test gun for link to quick-change shop raider

Will Laurie said his colleague was badly shaken by the raid earlier this year.
Will Laurie said his colleague was badly shaken by the raid earlier this year.
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POLICE hunting for the “quick-change” armed robber who held up a string of bookies and off-licences in the Capital have seized a firearm found in a search of a Restalrig flat.

The weapon is now undergoing tests to see if forensic experts can link the firearm to any unsolved crimes.

The gun was found by officers after they were called to a home in Barleyhill Terrace following an alleged assault on a woman.

The alleged victim told the Evening News that CID officers informed her they would be testing the gun to see if it was connected to the spate of six robberies which took place over two months during the summer.

However, police said today they were not tying the discovery to any “specific crimes” while the tests continued.

A police spokesman said: “A firearm was recovered by police during this enquiry and investigations are ongoing to establish its authenticity and if any other offences have been committed.”

The alleged assault victim said: “Two CID detectives who spoke to me said the gun would be taken away for testing because of all the armed robberies which had been happening at the bookies and off-licences. They thought it might be involved.

“It was an 8mm handgun but it was jammed because someone tried to put a 9mm bullet inside it.”

Officers were called to the Restalrig address at around 8.45pm last Monday following an alleged assault.

The police spokesman added: “A 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged assault and drug offence.

“He was scheduled to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday.”

A dedicated squad of officers was set up by police to track down the masked man behind the spate of armed robberies, who was thought to quickly change his clothes after a heist in a bid to evade capture.

Three off-licences in Dalry Road, Melville Drive and North West Circus Place were targeted during the robberies, along with a trio of bookmakers in Leith Walk, West Maitland Street and Lothian Road.

In each case, a robber pulled out a handgun and demanded cash and in at least one he was also armed with a meat cleaver.

Will Laurie, 27, assistant manager at Spirited Wines, said his colleague had been left badly shaken following her ordeal after the robber waved a black pistol and demanded all the money.

All of the robberies took place between June 2 and August 29.

Witness descriptions following each robbery were similar, with the suspect described as being 5ft 6in to 6ft tall with an athletic build. The robber typically wore dark trousers and a dark jacket, as well as a scarf or balaclava.

A team of 14 officers have been involved in investigating the robberies, with community officers and other specialists also taking part. Officers visited 40 bookmakers in the city, as well as numerous off-licences and other shops to give staff advice on keeping safe.

Officers warned members of the public and shop staff not to approach the suspect, as he was considered highly dangerous.