Detectives fear blade-wielding thugs will soon claim a life in Edinburgh’s criminal feuds

BLADE-wielding thugs targeting each other in their Capital homes in ultra-violent robberies for drugs and cash will claim a life, detectives fear.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 05:00 am

In the latest bloody assault, a man was stabbed in the stomach and arm in Wester Hailes in the early hours of Monday.

That came days after masked robbers brutally attacked two men with a machete in Greenbank.

The latest home invasion robbery – which is being treated as attempted murder – follows a distinct pattern of attacks on members of the criminal fraternity by fellow crooks over the past two years.

Detectives fear a life will be taken.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Capital has seen a rise in the number of robberies where the victims have had links to organised crime or operate on the fringes of gangland.

Some victims have been drug dealers being “taxed” for their cash and haul of narcotics while others are known “faces” on Edinburgh’s underworld scene.

Senior officers believe the number of incidents may be “significantly higher” with many going unreported by victims unwilling to deal with the police.

One source told the Evening News: “Dealers taxing each other for their drugs and money used to happen once or twice a year but now it is the norm for people living that lifestyle.

The Fire Service were called out to Harperrig Way, Oxgangs, Edinburgh to deal with a car fire. Pic: Neil Hanna Photography 3

“Most street robberies are carried out by addicts desperate to feed a habit. What we are seeing – and gleaning from intelligence and other sources – suggests most serious assaults and robberies are crook-on-crook attacks.”

She added: “If masked men come through your door wielding weapons which they are clearly prepared to use, then it’s pretty obvious that you have been or are still operating on the wrong side of the law. Innocent members of the public are not subjected to those sort of attacks unless it’s a case of mistaken identity.

“These are planned and targeted. Stolen cars with false or cloned plates are used in most cases and the number is without doubt significantly higher than reported to us.”

She warned: “Someone will eventually go over the top and there will be a fatality. That is almost a certainty. The people carrying out these sort of attacks have no conscience and no consideration for their victims. They inflict dreadful injuries and so far it has been only luck that has prevented someone from dying. But luck runs out.”

Cannabis found during drugs riads. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Detectives are understood to have ruled out any links between the two most recent Edinburgh incidents but believe there are organised crime connections to both.

The 35-year-old Wester Hailes victim is being treated in the ERI for stab wounds after raiders struck his Murrayburn Gardens home at 12.20am yesterday.

The first suspect is described as white, in his thirties, of medium build, mousey brown short hair and wearing a black shiny tracksuit top and black trousers.

His accomplice was white, in his thirties with short fair hair and wearing a dark jumper and dark trousers.

The third, also white, is in his thirties with an average height and build and dark brown hair.

Detective Inspector Bruce Coutts said: “If you saw any suspicious activity in the Murrayburn Gardens area during the early hours of Monday morning, then please contact police immediately.

“Similarly, if you have any other relevant information, including details of those responsible, then we would also urge you to get in touch.”

In the previous incident, three balaclava-clad intruders burst into a home in Pitcairn Grove last Wednesday before unleashing a ferocious attack on a 48-year-old man.

The victim suffered machete wounds to his head and arm while a 22-year-old suffered cuts to his hand while trying to fight off the attackers.

Detectives from the same team probing Monday’s attempted murder believe the gang used a black Audi A5 with fake plates found torched about a mile away in Harperrig Way, Oxgangs.

Anyone with information on either raid can contact Corstorphine CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

newsen@edinburghnews.com