CCTV plea after knife crime blitz

A ROBBERY victim confronted by a masked man with a six-inch blade as she opened her shop has joined calls for CCTV to be installed around the notorious Telfer Subway.

Wednesday, 12th October 2011, 1:12 pm

Rashpal Sandher, 32, who works at Sandher and Sons, on Dundee Street, was forced to hand over hundreds of pounds from the till and around £1100 worth of cigarettes after the convenience store was targeted last Monday.

Mrs Sandher said it was the second time in a year that the store had been hit.

Today MSP Sarah Boyack, along with residents and local councillors, called for more stringent safety measures in the area.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The area has been blighted by four knife crimes in the past week – all of which are believed to be linked – and in the past has been the location of a horrific rape and several other assaults.

Mrs Sandher told how she had been opening her shop at about 7.30am when she had noticed a man loitering in the doorway.

She said: “I thought he was waiting for a bus but after I served a customer he came in and pulled out the knife. He raised it and slammed it down on the till to try and open it, causing it to break. He shouted for me to, ‘put the money in the bag’.

“Another customer came into the shop who had been coming in every day for around two months, but when he saw what was going on he just left and didn’t help.

“After he ran away the robber tried to prop the door closed with two litres of Sprite. He took £60 from the till and £200 we had to pay for deliveries, plus £1100 worth of cigarettes. He was very calm in what he was doing and it lasted around five or six minutes.”

She added: “Now I come with my dad to open up. We need CCTV as there have been so many incidents and it’s got really bad.”

Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for witnesses after several robberies. The first incident last Monday happened at about 6.30am.

A 21-year-old man was walking in the subway when a man brandished a knife and demanded his belongings.

An hour later, Mrs Sandher was targeted. The next day an 18-year-old man was working in the Caledonian Newsagent, on Dalry Road, at 11.30pm when a man holding a knife ran into the store and threatened two men aged 52 and 42 who were shopping.

A struggle ensued before the suspect fled the shop along Caledonian Crescent empty-handed. A short time later, a 52-year-old man was walking along Caledonian Crescent when he was threatened with a knife and was robbed. The masked thief fled towards the Telfer Subway.

Detectives are urging anyone with information to come forward.

The suspect is described as white, between 5ft 9ins and 5ft 11ins tall, with a slim build. He was wearing blue jeans, a dark top, dark gloves and had a scarf covering his face.

MSP Sarah Boyack said: “This is horrifying news for people living and working in these areas. It is totally unacceptable that people are being threatened and robbed in their own streets. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their community and it is evident from this that we need more community safety initiatives. CCTV is a necessary option.”