Thieves take stolen car on sledgehammer crime spree

Norval Barclay at The Raeburn Bar. Picture: Greg Macvean
Norval Barclay at The Raeburn Bar. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Thieves used a sledgehammer to go on a wrecking spree at a pub, dementia care centre and a bakery before abandoning a high-powered stolen car.

The criminals used a stolen Mercedes to target businesses across Stockbridge in the early-morning raids, leaving a trail of destruction.

They used the weapon to smash the windows of the properties on Cheyne Street and Raeburn Place but they left all three premises empty-handed.
The white C-Class model is understood to have been found abandoned in Pilrig Street, Leith shortly after the incidents, which took place at around 4am yesterday.

As staff at The Raeburn bar, LifeCare Centre and Goodfellow & Steven bakery organised repairs, police issued an urgent appeal for information.

The incident is the latest in a string of cases involving expensive cars being stolen from homes before being used as getaway vehicles in other break-ins or attempted thefts. Officers across the Capital have vowed to combat the “hardcore” of culprits with the ongoing Operation RAC crackdown.

Norval Barclay, who runs The Raeburn, said the thieves had smashed two window panes and damaged a frame, but they were unable to gain access.

He said: “The car was later found ditched in Pilrig Street. The guys last night were well-equipped but pretty stupid. They tried to get into the front windows of the bar, but there are small frames.

“They went into the 
[LifeCare] centre – what were they going to find in there? It’s just crazy. They couldn’t get into the bar. There would have been alcohol and a small amount of cash on the premises. The alcohol was probably their main target. It has caused a lot of upheaval and a lot of trauma for the victims.”

The glass front door of the LifeCare centre, which is across the road from The Raeburn in Cheyne Street, was completely smashed with the sledgehammer.

The complex, which runs a range of services for elderly people and dementia suffers, was open as usual yesterday after the door was boarded up.

Around the corner on Raeburn Place, staff at Goodfellow & Steven were also counting the cost of the damage.

Bakery manager Margaret Cumming said: “They got in through the door and they broke the panels. It’s awful. It’s very upsetting.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Police in Edinburgh received a report of an attempted housebreaking on Dean Street which took place in the early hours of Wednesday. A stolen white Mercedes C-Class is believed to have been used during this incident and inquiries are ongoing.”