Daylight jewel robber in moped escape

Workers at Laing the Jewellers close the shop after the robbery. Picture: Toby Williams
Workers at Laing the Jewellers close the shop after the robbery. Picture: Toby Williams
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A MOPED-riding robber has launched a daring daylight heist on a city centre jewellers – just months after a £1 million raid on a nearby outlet.

Police are probing the hold-up that saw the man storm into Laing the Jeweller – which boasts Scotland’s largest collection of luxury watches – and escape with a haul of valuables at around 5pm yesterday.

It is understood the culprit fled through rush-hour traffic on the moped.

The robbery at the Frederick Street jewellers comes months after a major heist at nearby Rox Edinburgh for which three men have been arrested.

Witnesses said the raid sparked little commotion in the city streets and police swooped quickly after the alarm was raised.

Jerry Brown, 33, from Newington, who works in Spirited Wines across the road from the crime scene, said: “I can sympathise with the guys who worked there as I once worked in a shop on Leith Walk that was held-up twice and it’s not a nice experience. Hopefully nobody has been hurt.”

A police expert said yesterday’s raid bore the hallmarks of a professional robbery.

The former senior officer said the tactics deployed suggested an experienced and professional thief.

He said: “Mopeds are quite good because in the city centre any vehicles other than mopeds are a bit of a disadvantage. I would have thought he would travel a very short distance on the moped and abandon it for something else. It’s quite professional, but let’s see if he is arrested within 48 hours. It seems he had a firm plan which most criminals don’t.”

Laing the Jeweller is Scotland’s oldest family jewellers. Current director Richard Laing is the sixth generation to be involved in the 170 year family business. Last month the store unveiled its new Rolex Room and purpose-built specialist watch workshop in a bid to expand its high end watch business – this follows the opening of the Laing Watch Gallery just two doors up last year.

A spokesperson for Laing Edinburgh was unable to confirm the exact amount of goods taken during the heist, but did reveal that no damage was caused to the store. She said: “There was an incident of theft in the store. There was no store damage and from what we can tell, it involved one individual who came into the store during the afternoon.”

The thief is described as being in his early 30s, around 5ft 10in tall, wearing a blue sleeveless pullover, a red and blue checked shirt, dark jeans and a blue flat cap. He had short ginger hair, a ginger coloured beard, and was carrying a blue “messenger-style” bag over his shoulder.

Detective Sergeant Raymond Gray said: “George Street was very busy at this time, as this happened during rush hour. I am appealing to anyone who saw a man fitting this description to call us on 101 or give us the information via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”