Police dismiss link between Bannatyne's shooting and 'gangland' crime

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By Christine Lavelle

POLICE probing a shooting in Edinburgh warned they will not tolerate any “gangland” style feud in the city.

Detectives today tried to play down such a possibility after Robert Kelbie, 27, a controversial property developer, was gunned down outside Bannatyne’s Health Club last Wednesday.

A grey or silver Vauxhall Vectra was seen speeding away from the scene moments later.

He managed to run into the club in Newcraighall and was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh before discharging himself the same evening.

The incident was thought to be connected to second attack on 44-year-old Mark Richardson in Portobello just hours later, when a group of men set upon the victim with baseball bats.

It was reported that a police source believes the attacks were gang related.

But Detective Chief Inspector Richard Thomas said: “This is not gangland crime in Edinburgh.

“It is possibly related to low level drugs crimes.

“But we are still following a number of lines of inquiry and can’t even confirm that.

He added: “To members of the public who are worried about violent gang crime and the possibility it could escalate, I would emphasise that this type of incident is extremely rare.

“We have every possible resource on this case and we are optimistic we will find out who did this.”

Mr Richardson’s 23-year-old son, also named Mark, was jailed for his part in a large cocaine operation in Edinburgh.

DCI Thomas also revealed that a stolen vehicle fitting the description of the Vauxhall sighted outside Bannatyne’s was discovered the morning after the shooting.

The car is believed to have been dumped in a private resident’s car park which houses Edinburgh Napier University students, on West Bryson Road sometime between 7pm and 10.30pm on October 21.

The same car had been reported stolen on October 1 by someone in the Glasgow area.

DCI Thomas said the Lothian and Borders force were investigating all of the circumstances, which could mean requesting the help of Strathclyde Police.

The inside of the vehicle appeared to have been set on fire deliberately, and it has now been taken away for police investigation.

DCI Thomas said: “There was some damage which appeared to have been done deliberately.

“But at the moment we don’t even know if it is linked to the incident at the health club, as the vehicle may have been vandalised in an unrelated incident.

“There would have been a number of escape routes from this car park if it is the car we’re looking for.

“There is a wall behind the parking bays that kids often climb over and it leads to a small wooded area, and across the road there is a play park which could have been used for a quick escape.”

On Wednesday evening, exactly one week after the shooting, police set up a reconstruction outside the Newcraighall club in a bid to jog gym-goer’s memories.

DCI Thomas added that the re-enactment of the Vauxhall Vectra speeding off after the victim was hit has generated some positive lines of inquiry, as new witnesses have come forward.

He said: “We have had a good response from the reconstruction, but we are still appealing for anyone who may have information to come forward.

“Anyone who attended the gym last Wednesday between 6pm and 7pm could be vital to our investigations.

“And likewise, we are eager to speak to anyone who saw the Vauxhall being parked in the West Bryson Road area between 7.30pm and 10pm on the same evening.”

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