By Alan Robertson and Amanda MacMillan
DETECTIVES are hunting an armed robber believed to be behind three attacks on Edinburgh off-licences.
In the latest incident, a terrified 27-year-old woman was threatened with a handgun as she worked alone on Monday night.
The masked robber, who also had a meat cleaver tucked in his trousers, took hundreds of pounds from the till at the Spirited Wine store in the city’s upmarket Stockbridge area.
Will Lawrie, 27, assistant manager, said the raid, which lasted less than a minute, left the worker
“She was at the far end of the shop. He just came in quite normally, didn’t bash in or anything.
“She came to the counter because she thought he was a customer. He was brandishing a gun and she told me he had a cleaver down his trousers.
“He then told her to empty the till and ended up taking change bags as well. He was making for the door then came back in, told her to get on the floor and then proceeded to leave with her sitting knelt down behind the counter. “
The thief is described as white, 5ft 7ins, and slim. He was wearing a black balaclava with a black hooded top also over his head, blue jeans, white trainers and a dark-coloured rucksack. He spoke with an English accent.
On June 2 an armed robber stole more than 100 from Appellation Wines in the city’s Dalry Road.
The raider pointed his handgun at a 25-year-old woman shop worker and demanded money.
A day later a masked man threatened the owner of Meadows Wine in Melville Terrace before escaping with hundreds of pounds.
The 40-year-old owner chased the armed robber but lost sight of him.
Detectives believe the incidents may be linked.
In all three cases the thief wore a black balaclava and appears to have targeted women working alone.
Police have confirmed that there will be reassurance patrols and a higher police presence to reassure locals.
Officers were today (Tue) examining CCTV footage from the Stockbridge attack in a bid to identify the robber.
A police spokesman said: “While it cannot be confirmed whether the handgun was genuine, the threat of its use was a terrifying experience for the shop worker to endure and thankfully she was not injured during the incident.
“Anyone who was in the Stockbridge area last night and saw anything suspicious or who can provide us with information that will help to trace the suspect is asked to contact police immediately.”
Anyone with any information regarding any of the robberies can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or the charity Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.