Scooter bandits pull knife on victim walking along Water of Leith

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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A MAN robbed by a knife-wielding yob with an accomplice on a red scooter has revealed how he never thought he would be a mugging victim.

Angry Brian Alexander has described how he was held up by a robber who pointed a Stanley knife at his face as he walked to work along the Water of Leith.

The software analyst was mugged for his smartphone after being targeted by the armed robber and his scooter-riding sidekick at 7.35am yesterday morning.

The 44-year-old said he believed he was “lucky” not to have been slashed by the lout, who fled after the victim refused to hand over his wallet.

Mr Alexander also urged the public to take care when using a mobile phone in public, the subject of many recent police appeals which he said he ignored as “I never thought it would happen to me”.

Detectives described the incident as a “frightening ordeal” and appealed for help in tracking down the culprits.

Mr Alexander was walking in the dark between Victoria Park and St Mark’s Park on the Water of Leith when he was held up.

He said: “I was listening to music on my phone through headphones when I heard a loud noise.

“A couple of metres behind me was this red Vespa-style scooter with a driver with a guy running alongside it. I stopped and a split-second later the scooter cut in front of me, blocking my way.

“The guy on foot had a scarf covering his face and a hoodie on. He said, ‘Gies your phone’.

“I thought for a second, then nudged him out the way to run, but I couldn’t get past the bike. I slipped on the mud and fell back into the trees.

“I scrambled to my feet and this guy pulled out what looked like a Stanley knife. He held out the knife to my face so it was only a few inches away.

“When I saw the knife I quickly decided to give him the phone. Then he said, ‘Now give us your wallet’. I told him I didn’t have a wallet, which I did, and he shouted, ‘Gies your f****** wallet’.

“I was in a bit of shock but I was also feeling angry about what was happening so I shouted back, ‘I don’t have a f***** wallet’. Maybe it was me shouting but they fled down the walkway.”

Mr Alexander described the first suspect as white, around 18 years old, 5ft 9in tall with a slight build. He was wearing a dark hooded top with the hood up, light trousers and a white chequered bandana covering most of his face.

The second suspect had a slight build and was wearing a motorcycle helmet and dark clothing. Both men spoke with local accents.

Mr Alexander added: “I felt there was no question he would’ve used the knife. Looking back now, I probably should’ve given my wallet.

“Afterwards I stood disorientated for a few seconds, then started walking towards work. Then I sort of realised what had happened and went to call the police. I’d seen the warnings about walking around with mobile phones. I just never thought it would happen to me. I wouldn’t walk around with a few hundred pound notes in my hand in the dark so I won’t be doing it again.

“The walkway is used by many people, including schoolkids. I don’t want the same thing to happen to someone else who may not be so lucky.”

Detective Constable Graham McIlwraith said: “We are conducting local inquiries and would urge anyone who remembers seeing the distinctive red Vespa-style scooter, or the suspects, to come forward.

“The victim spoke with a man walking his two dogs just after the robbery and this individual may have witnessed the incident. He is asked to contact police immediately.”

amcewen@edinburghnews.com