DETECTIVES have released a series of CCTV images in the hunt for a gun-wielding armed robber who has struck at a string of city bookmakers and off-licences.
The robber is being linked to seven gunpoint hold-ups in the Capital over four months, prompting a dedicated squad of officers to be formed to catch him.
Officers hope the security camera images may provide a vital breakthrough if members of the public recognise the clothes worn by the suspect.
Witness descriptions following each robbery were similar, with the man described as being 5ft 6in to 6ft tall with an athletic build. The robber has typically worn dark trousers and a dark jacket, as well as a scarf or balaclava.
Between June and October, three off-licences in Dalry Road, Melville Drive and North West Circus Place were targeted, along with four bookmakers in Leith Walk, West Maitland Street, Lothian Road and Home Street.
In each case, a robber pulled out a handgun and demanded cash and, in at least one, he was also armed with a meat cleaver.
Detective Inspector Dave Pinkney said: “We’re hoping that someone might recognise the clothing being worn. Some of the clothing is quite distinctive, like the white hat and the backpack.
“We cannot say for definite that it’s the same person involved. There are a lot of similarities between the incidents and descriptions although there are also some differences. There may be two or even three different people involved.
“We have not had an incident since October so it’s possible they may be serving a sentence for another crime. Or they have moved away from the area.
“There was approximately a six-week gap between the robberies in June and those in August and then roughly another six-week gap [before] the last incident, which happened in October.
“If anyone has suspicions about a potential suspect then they should contact police so we can eliminate them from our inquiries.”
Detectives believed the masked man may have been quickly changing his clothes after a heist in a bid to evade capture.
Police enlisted the help of city businesses to report any suspicious activity near their premises, particularly between 8pm and 10pm when the robber has repeatedly struck.
But officers warned members of the public and shop staff not to approach the suspect, who was considered highly dangerous, while extra police patrols were launched in the city centre.
STORES THAT WERE HIT
Where the robberies took place:
• Appellation Wines, Dalry Road, June 2
• Meadows Wine, Melville Drive, June 3
• Spirited Wines, North West Circus Place, June 13
• William Hill, Leith Walk, August 3
• Ladbrokes, West Maitland Street, August 12
• William Hill, Lothian Road, August 29
• Ladbrokes, Home Street, October 22