A pair of hapless thieves were hunted down by a crowd of angry rugby players after the team dressing room had wallets, cash and iPods stolen.
The dopey duo were caught red-handed by 40 strapping players from Edinburgh Academicals as they tried to flee Scotland’s oldest rugby club with a bag of stolen loot.
Surrounded by six-foot bruisers, the culprits made for a getaway car, but a quick-thinking interception saw one of the players snatch keys from the ignition, leaving the crooks with an awkward wait until police arrived.
Claims the thieves had “just finished training” fell on deaf ears and officers made two of the simpliest arrests they will have ever made.
It is understood speedy flanker Robin Snape – a fitness coach and personal trainer – chased down the pair before his team-mates formed a human barricade to prevent the car screaming away.
Jason Parrott, an Edinburgh Accies committee member, said: “I think these two picked on the wrong guys.” And he added: “There wasn’t any resistance from them. I know the individuals involved well and they are pretty tough guys.”
The sneak thieves crept into the Raeburn Place clubhouse while Accies squads were put through their paces at nearby Inverleith Park, days ahead of the new season.
It is thought they rummaged through dozens of bags before being apprehended outside and could have escaped with a haul worth thousands of pounds.
Club captain Greg Campbell suspects the crooks may have been watching the clubhouse waiting for a quiet moment to strike. He said: “We got back to the clubhouse and caught up with them at that point – they looked a bit suspicious.
“We asked what they were up to and they said they had just finished training, which we obviously knew was a lie.
“We asked them for ID and they tried to make a run for it. Some of the players stopped them until the police arrived. They tried to get into the car, and had managed to get the keys into the ignition, but they didn’t get very far. We managed to catch them at the right time.”
Eyewitnesses reported watching dozens of rugby players swarming a car near a bus stop close to Dean Park Street.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said the players appeared to have kept the situation “calm” before two police cars arrived to detain the intruders.
A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers were called to Comely Bank Road at around 9pm on Thursday, August 7, following a report of a theft. Two men were detained and inquiries are ongoing.”
No-one has been charged in connection with the theft.