SHOPKEEPERS were left terrified after three Capital stores were raided in just two hours.
A knife-wielding robber targeted High Spirits on Slateford Road at 4.50pm on Sunday.
The same man is then believed to have hit Margiotta on Comiston Road and Broadway Convenience Store, Oxgangs Broadway.
A woman shop assistant at Broadway was left “frightened and in shock”, said owner Dennis Williams.
READ MORE: Police appeal following three robberies in two hours
He described how the man approached the counter at about 6.50pm and asked for two bottles of Glen’s vodka and a bottle of Smirnoff.
“He went to pay with a credit card and it was obviously declined,” said Mr Williams. “My store assistant tried again and he grabbed the bag and ran off.
“She was very upset and frightened. It’s paramount that our staff are safe and working in the right environment – that’s why we have CCTV and panic buttons.”
Mr Williams praised police for arriving “within minutes” and said officers had taken away CCTV footage.
“In 33 years in the business I’ve never had anything like this happen before,” he said. “A lot of shops are getting robbed these days and I think it’s on the rise.
“The majority of people who work in stores are women and this is a real bad experience for them.”
Mr Williams, a member of the Scottish Grocers Federation, pledged to raise shop attacks at a meeting with police at Tulliallan today.
The manager of High Spirits, who declined to be named, described the moment the robber struck while a male member of staff was on duty.
“He pulled out a knife and placed it on the counter in his hand,” said the manager. “He demanded the till be opened but was refused. He grabbed a couple of bottles of Smirnoff from the aisle on his way out.
“I’ve been here for five years and although we’ve had shoplifters, we’ve never had anything as traumatic as this.”
The same suspect is believed to have demanded the till be open in Margiotta at 6.40pm before being refused and fleeing empty-handed.
John Lee, head of public affairs at the Scottish Grocers Federation, said: “We fundamentally believe that stores should be safe for customers and staff.”
The suspect is described as a white man, in his late 20s or early 30s, around 6ft tall and of medium build.
He has a scar on his left cheek and was wearing a navy blue tight-fitting padded jacket, black jogging bottoms with a white stripe down the sides and black trainers with white soles and a white trim.
DC Kevin Walls said: “Thankfully none of the shop workers were harmed during any of these robberies, but were understandably shocked and distressed.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.