Armed gang at large after raid on jewellers

Police officer outside Hamilton and Inches on George Street after an incident today
Police officer outside Hamilton and Inches on George Street after an incident today
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A GANG of axe-wielding thieves remains at large following a brazen daylight heist on one of Scotland’s most exclusive jewellers.

Three balaclava-clad robbers held up Hamilton and Inches on George Street

yesterday morning armed with “machetes, axes and hammers” before escaping in a getaway car with rucksacks packed with loot.

Staff at the upmarket store, which supplies jewellery to the Royal family, were threatened and one was “pushed against the wall” as three masked men in overalls smashed display cases and raided precious gems and watches.

A female employee later attended hospital with minor injuries.

Witnesses reported a white BMW car seen fleeing the scene which is understood to have been abandoned nearby.

It is thought up to three shoppers had been browsing when the robbers struck.

Store commercial director Ross Haston said the jewellers had been extensively damaged and the thieves “seemed to know exactly what they were looking for”.

“It all happened very quickly – maybe minutes,” he said. “It’s a very confused picture and our first priority is looking after our staff, who have been left very shaken.

No-one from Hamilton and Inches would confirm the value of the items stolen.

Eyewitness Mark McLeod, 29, said the heist was “like something you would see in the movies”.

“I was standing right outside on my phone and there was a couple standing with their backs to the wall,” said the accountant. “They said ‘You’d better not go in there: there’s an armed robbery going on.’

“Then I saw three or four guys with overalls and balaclavas. It looked like they had Samurai swords or machetes. They had backpacks on.”

Another, Mary Melvin, 92, of Corstorphine, also saw the armed men emerge from the shop with “machetes”, adding that her daughter-in-law had been “shaking with fear”.

Yesterday’s raid took place just yards away from Rox jewellery store where gems worth £730,000 were stolen in January last year.

An ex-senior police officer, who declined to be named, said if found intact the escape vehicle could provide vital clues to tracing the armed gang.

He said daylight heists were a “tried and tested” method for criminals who exploit the “element of surprise” to make off quickly with huge sums.