Masked robbers hunted by police after spate of Old Town break-ins

Graham Muir is cursing the 'serious setback' for his Royal Mile Supermarket
Graham Muir is cursing the 'serious setback' for his Royal Mile Supermarket
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DETECTIVES are investigating the latest in a series of break-ins in the Old Town during which around £3000 cash has been stolen.

Cash Generator on South Bridge was raided by two men who were able to bypass the shop’s alarms and open a secure rear fire door.

Officers said the incident took place overnight on ­Saturday, December 15 and followed similar break-ins at the City Cafe, the Royal Mile Supermarket and the ­skate-wear store Focus on the Canongate, with £7000 stolen to date.

The so-called “Royal Mile Robbers” wear masks to ­protect their identity and ­display ingenuity that suggests they are career criminals.

While they are at large, ­business owners are being urged to ensure takings are banked or locked in a safe, and that CCTV ­cameras remain on at all times.

Detective Inspector John Kavanagh, from Gayfield CID, confirmed that all the break-ins have been carried out in a 
relatively sophisticated 

He said: “These break-ins at the Royal Mile Supermarket, Focus, the City Cafe and now Cash Generator are believed to be connected.

“In each case the alarm wires have been cut, and in one or two cases alarm boxes have been taken off walls.

“Thereafter these individuals have entered through rear fire doors and it’s clear they know what they’re doing.

“I would say it’s likely they have been into the stores, maybe not on the same day, but prior to the break-in. We would urge traders not to leave any cash in the store if possible – if you have safes or can bank it before the end of the day.

“Leave as little valuable lying in view when you close up the premises and if you’ve ­internal CCTV ensure it’s on and working over the festive period.

He added: “While these ­incidents are believed to be connected they are isolated in a sense. We’d make the point that there has only been one per week and we are ­pursuing a positive line of inquiry.”

Two suspects were caught on CCTV at the Royal Mile ­Supermarket on December 6 wearing ski masks, with one carrying a long bladed ­instrument which it is believed was used to cut electrical wires.

The first suspect was caught on CCTV wearing a satchel across his left shoulder over to the right, around 5ft 11ins tall with a broad build.

The second is described as having large feet with white shoes and white gloves, more than 6ft tall and carrying a long silver blade.

Graham Muir, who runs the Royal Mile Supermarket along with his son, Finlay, said his ­insurance would only cover some of the costs of the break-in. He said: “I managed to get these guys on CCTV and I know the police are on to them. It’s been a serious setback for the business, though.

“We lost £2000 in cigarettes, the fire door will cost £250 to replace and there’s damage to the wiring and inside the store.

“Because of the loss I opened on Christmas Day to try make up for it.”

No-one at Cash Generator was available to comment.

The first burglary took place at the City Cafe on December 2 and all the incidents so far have happened around 4am.

Police have urged witnesses call them on 0131-311 3131.