DRAMATIC footage has emerged of the moment an imam scared off hapless housebreakers at a Capital mosque.
Two masked and tooled-up raiders are seen tip-toeing up stairs after prising open a locked door to the Shahjalal centre in Annandale Street Lane.
But they beat a hasty retreat after waking Zillur Rahman who was having a nap in his office after late prayers in the early hours last Friday.
“The most worrying thing was how these two had crowbars and other stuff,” said mosque committee member Foysol Choudhury.
“If someone had been coming up the stairs behind them, they could’ve been hurt. It’s a very serious situation.”
Footage captured on the mosque’s CCTV cameras initially shows the men arriving in a vehicle outside.
“Two guys come in a car, pull in front of the mosque and there’s a big bang as they break in through the door,” said Mr Choudhury. “It was double-locked and had a mortice lock on but they had a crowbar and another tool like what’s used in roadworks.”
Video then shows the men, dressed in dark clothes, wearing masks and carrying tools, warily make their way up the staircase.
“Both of them get into the staircase and then kick the door where one of the volunteer imams was and he screamed and both of them ran away,” said Mr Choudhury.
The spooked pair scarper down the stairs and flee the mosque empty-handed, as Mr Rahman follows shortly after.
“Why did they come into the mosque? What was their motive? There’s no money left in the mosque,” added Mr Choudhury.
Worshipers are now living in fear while mosque leaders hope the CCTV footage will help snare the pair before they strike again
“Everybody is in shock and frightened. People in the mosque at night-time are worried – it’s a public place.
“The police have been very cooperative,” added Mr Choudhury. “They’ve taken the video and the timings.
“Nowadays, because they’ve got the timings, I’m sure there are other cameras in the street, like at the medical centre.
“If they don’t get caught, they’ll try somewhere else and they might come face-to-face with someone and the way they were, they wouldn’t worry about anything.”
Police have now launched an investigation and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
A spokeswoman said: “Police in Edinburgh were called to an address in Annandale Street Lane around 01.55am on Friday, August 10 following reports of a break-in. Inquiries are ongoing.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.