THE upmarket store hit by Scotland’s biggest-ever jewellery heist has installed a “smoke cloud” system to deter raiders.
Watches, necklaces and rings worth around £1m were seized from Rox in Edinburgh last Tuesday by an armed gang who smashed displays and terrorised staff.
The smoke cloud device – part of security upgrades worth £50,000 – creates a dense fog within premises.
The smoke can be automatically triggered and hampers the robber’s ability to target valuables.
But concerns have been raised that the cloud could cause robbers to “panic” and worsen an already volatile situation.
A spokeswoman for Rox, in the city’s George Street, said: “The safety and well-being of our staff is our utmost priority at all times.
“We are investing £50,000 in additional security for our Edinburgh store to deter burglars and give staff, who are still badly shaken, extra peace of mind.
“We are now operating a lock-door policy at all times and have employed a full-time security guard.
“We have also installed a smoke cloud system as a deterrent.
“We are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety and well-being of our team.”
The Rox spokeswoman said the smoke cloud system was “highly sophisticated” and intended to act as a deterrent. She said it had been used by jewellers in England to great effect.
The security guard would open the door for any customers and greet them as they entered the shop, she added.
Two staff members were left “badly shaken” after the raid last week, which saw one forced to open a cabinet by a man apparently armed with a gun.
Another of the robbers used an axe to smash up glass display cases.
The men, both of whom were wearing motorcycle helmets, escaped on a motorcycle which was found abandoned about half a mile away.
Police said this week the raiders may have then got into a taxi.
The gang are believed to have had a £500,000 Girard-Perregaux watch at the top of their target list but the timepiece was not in the store at the time.
In 2011 a raid at a jewellers in Birmingham was partially foiled after a smoke cloud system was triggered.
Police said the thieves could have made off with more from Prem (corr)Jewellers had it not been for the smoke – and a man who tried to fend them off a shovel.
But Roy Ramm, former head of the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Operations and the Flying Squad, has previously spoken of his concerns over smoke cloud systems
He said in 2009: “In a situation where a room suddenly fills with fog, it gives somebody another reason to panic. You could quite easily end up with someone being shot.”
Smoke cloud system manufacturers SmokeCloud, based in Northampton, insisted they had not had any such incidents caused by their products.
A leading smoke system manufacturer says their products are reinforced to prevent sabotage and the fog is produced by a fluid before being blasted throughout the shop.
Police are still appealing for witnesses to come forward in relation to the evening raid on Rox, where the two thieves made off on a black motorcycle.
This week, police officers revisited the scene and carried out patrols in the area
Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers, where information can be passed anonymously, on 0800 555 111.