£20,000 worth of art stolen in Leith studio raid

Janis Binnie with her son Chris Endres beside the shelves left empty by thieves in Santosa Yoga Cafe on Albert Street. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Janis Binnie with her son Chris Endres beside the shelves left empty by thieves in Santosa Yoga Cafe on Albert Street. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A GANG of housebreakers smashed their way into a Leith yoga studio – stealing up to £20,000 of rare art works.

Owner of Santosa in Albert Street, Janis Binnie, believes the bowls and statues were stolen to be melted down for their metal.

The Buddhist statues were highly valuable and each unique.

The Buddhist statues were highly valuable and each unique.

Police are understood to be investigating any links between the raid last Tuesday night and two more on the same evening.

“The police said they’ve had so many commercial properties done in January that forensics can’t keep up,” said Ms Binnie, 52.

“They were very, very determined to get in. They caused significant damage as they crowbarred their way through two dead-bolt doors.”

Ms Binnie spent seven years gathering the collection of one-off bronze and copper artefacts from specialist artists in Nepal.

The artworks are on sale to the hundreds of regulars at the studio – while Ms Binnie also visits London fairs with the wares.

“These bowls were handmade in the traditional way using a centuries-old process,” she said.

The gang also took laptops and a hard-drive containing the studio’s CCTV footage of the break-in.

“They must’ve had two holdalls each because they took about 100 kilos of metal,” said Ms Binnie.

The gang left Nepalese paintings worth up to £3,000 and rare £700 crystals – suggesting they were only after metallic goods.

“The Buddhist statues were highly valuable and each unique,” said Ms Binnie, of gold-faced works.

“The current thinking is that since everything they took was metal, and they left everything else including many high value items, it was a targeted theft for metal items for melting down. It’s taken us the last few days to secure the venue, install additional security measures and basically get over the 
shock.”

Now regulars at the studio, cafe and fair trade shop have joined locals in rallying round the popular centre.

“People are talking about crowdfunding for us which is so sweet – it’s a business but also a community,” said Ms Binnie.

The Evening News reported last week how the Tartine Cafe in Commercial Street was broken into the same night by three men who fled empty-handed.

Police confirmed officers are probing both raids together with a third last Tuesday night at a cafe on the Shore.

“Police in Edinburgh are investigating following a break-in and theft at a businesses in the Leith area, sometime during the evening of Wednesday, January 31,” said a police spokesman.

“Entry was forced to a shop in Albert Street a number of Tibetan-style singing bowls were stolen.”

Anyone with information can contact 101, quoting incident number 913 of the January 31.

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com