Callous thieves ransacked a home in one of Edinburgh’s plushest neighbourhoods before making off with two high-end cars and a haul of stolen jewellery.
The incident is the latest in a spate of housebreakings to sweep the north of the city as police vow to hunt down a hardcore group of 40 criminals believed to be responsible.
A Range Rover and an Audi were snatched from the semi-detached house on Inverleith Terrace last Tuesday, along with a raft of high-value jewellery including 18ct gold pins inset with diamonds and a white gold pendant. The Range Rover was later recovered by police, but the Audi is yet to be found – and is believed to have been used in a later ram-raid elsewhere in the city.
Earlier this month the Evening News revealed the number of cases involving thieves stealing car keys from homes and fleeing in stolen vehicles has doubled in just three months – with the north and west and Pentlands police districts among the hardest hit.
Scottish Government figures show Edinburgh has the highest rate of domestic housebreakings of anywhere in Scotland – with 3363 taking place across 2014 alone, a rise of 46 per cent on the year before.
A police source said it was “no secret” among officers in Edinburgh that crime in the city was “running out of control.” He said: “There are too few officers available and the crimewave in Edinburgh is due to criminals knowing that the streets are free of police”.
Councillor Iain Whyte, who represents the Inverleith ward, said residents across the area had been expressing concerns over the boom in housebreakings.
He said: “On the face of it, it certainly has got worse. But I’m pleased to see that the police are taking it quite seriously.”
Superintendent Matt Richards insisted housebreaking remained a “top priority” that police were determined to tackle “head on.” He added: “Over the last two weeks we have increased the numbers of local officers, as well as adding staff from national teams, to catch offenders. As a result this fortnight has seen 18 arrests for housebreaking and related autocrime and these have allowed us to submit over 50 charges to the Fiscal.”