Sting closes net on crime gang’s violent rampage

Merchants Golf Club was targeted by the gang
Merchants Golf Club was targeted by the gang
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A VIOLENT gang that rampaged across the Capital stealing and causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage has been cracked in a police sting.

The six-strong group carried out more than 50 crimes over a six-week period before officers snared them during the complex operation.

The men shunted police cars out of their way during high-speed chases, drove at 100mph on the wrong side of the road, stole jewellery and cash from upmarket homes and targeted some of the city’s most exclusive golf clubs.

Two members of the gang were caught when they crashed their stolen car during a police chase but the ring leader, who was in the vehicle, managed to escape.

He was spotted and arrested two days later as a result of police intelligence. Three others had been arrested previously.

The gang’s recent rampage across the city sometimes saw them committing several crimes a night.

They stole dozens of cars and motorbikes, raided petrol stations and shops and attacked those who got in their way. In one instance, two gang members tailed a motorcyclist before assaulting him and stealing his motorbike.

Many of the homes hit were in Bruntsfield, Morningside and other parts of south Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian.

Among the businesses they struck were Prestonfield Golf Club, the Merchants of Edinburgh Golf Club, the Melville Golf Centre in Lasswade, Tesco in Musselburgh and Shell garages in Canonmills and Comiston.

It is understood that police have gathered a catalogue of evidence against the six, all of whom remain in custody after initial court appearances.

The offences committed by the gang are also thought to include driving while disqualified, failing to stop when flagged down by police and dangerous driving.

An inside source said: “They would steal from houses, then take vehicle keys from the house and steal the car. They hid the stolen cars around Edinburgh so they could keep using them to commit other crimes. We’re talking dozens of offences.”

Police confirmed the most recent arrests, saying: “Three men have been arrested and charged in relation to a vehicle theft and an assault that are reported to have taken place in Edinburgh between September 14 and October 3.”