Police warn off-licence staff not to work alone


By Kirsty Topping


Appellation Wines was robbed at gunpoint

POLICE have warned staff at Edinburgh off-licences not to work alone following a spate of armed robberies.

The gunman has held up three wine shops in the space of two weeks. Staff at all three stores were working alone at the time and all the raid took place between 8 and 9 pm.

Cops say they are keeping an

“open mind’ on whether the same man is behind the raids.

The most recent incident saw Spirited Wine, in the Stockbridge area of the city targeted on Monday as the 27-year-old female assistant worked alone.

The man threatened her with a gun before making her lie on the floor and making off with a three-figure sum of cash.

Armed robberies have also taken place at Appellation Wines on Dalry Road, on June 2, and Meadows Wine, on Melville Terrace the following evening.

Will Lawrie, 27, assistant manager of Spitited, said the raid left his colleague


He said:

“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 owner of Appellation Wines, who would only identify himself as Ash, described the moment the robber burst into his shop. He said: “The girl was sitting at the counter, working on her computer. But she looked up when the shop door was knocked open against the wall.

“The man made his way up to the desk. He had something dark over his head.

“He said ‘Give me notes, give me notes. Put them in a bag.” She gave him money out of the till and then he ran off.

“He had a gun, but he wasn’t waving it right in her face. It was down at his side.”

In both cases the suspect is described as being about five and a half foot tall and was wearing a balaclava.

Detective constable Gavin Watson, who is investigating the latest robbery, said:

“There are similarities between the three robberies but we are keeping an open mind as to whether they are linked.

“We are giving advice to off-licences to look at procedures in terms of when staff work on their own and measures such as getting CCTV.

“We would also ask members of the public who see anyone acting suspiciously beside an off-licence to contact police. “