Cigarettes haul for cash and carry gang

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A GANG of thieves who raided a cash and carry store in the Capital only hours into the New Year are believed to have escaped with thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes.

The robbers staged the break-in at the Booker Cash and Carry outlet in Inglis Green Road in Longstone at around 3am on New Year’s Day.

Police have appealed for help in tracing the culprits, who are believed to have staged the raid while force resources were stretched during the Hogmanay celebrations.

Officers would not comment on whether the raiders were part of the criminal gang which has targeted Edinburgh cash and carry shops in the past.

Booker store bosses said they took security matters “very seriously” and pledged to help detectives with their investigation.

It is not the first time that cash and carry stores in the Capital have been targeted by gangs intent on stealing cigarettes to sell on the black market. Three members of an organised crime gang were convicted in February following a police undercover operation which saw officers mount surveillance on the Booker Cash and Carry in Eastfield, Portobello.

Police chiefs would not comment today on whether the New Year’s Day raid was linked to other cases or how much was stolen.

A shopkeeper who regularly uses the cash and carry said: “I was told the break in happened just after the New Year started and they made off with thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes.”

Staff at the Longstone store said yesterday that they were not allowed to comment on the details of the incident.

A Booker Cash and Carry spokeswoman said: “We take matters of security very seriously and are fully co-operating with the police.”