The man, who had most of his face concealed with a scarf and a hood, entered Laing the jewellers on Frederick Street with a handgun at 09:30am.
He demanded staff hand over between 12 and 15 Rolex watches worth £100,000, all of which had been on display in the front of the shop.
The thief tried to hijack a black taxi and a van, before getting into the front passenger seat of a private hire cab in Hanover Street.
There was a 19-year-old male student already in the back of the taxi. The thief showed the driver his gun and forced him to take him on a 10-minute drive to Pilton, where he got out at the junction between Pilton Drive North and Royston Mains Crescent.
No-one was hurt in the incident, but police said the young passenger was shaken up by the experience.
Police are looking for a white male in his early 30s, 5ft 10in tall who was wearing a dark padded hooded jacket, blue trousers and a blue and white scarf. He was carrying a black and white rucksack.
They are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the man on Frederick Street, Rose Street, Hanover Street or in the Pilton area.
Det Insp Grant Johnston, of Police Scotland, said: “This robbery left the staff badly shaken but thankfully unhurt.
“We cannot at this time say whether it was a planned robbery. We are carrying out door to door inquiries and analyzing CCTV footage.
“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the man, or has information about the crime, so that we can trace him as soon as possible.”
A waiter at Chiquitos on Frederick Street, next door to Laing’s, said: “We didn’t notice anything until police put up tape this morning.
“We’ve had a lot of people asking about it but unfortunately none of our staff saw anything.”
Established in 1840 Laing is Scotland’s oldest family jeweller.
The Edinburgh store first opened its doors in 1978 and specialise in luxury watches and jewellery.
A sign posted on the shop front yesterday [Monday] afternoon read: “Following the incident in our store this morning, we can thankfully confirm that no-one was injured.
“It has been a stressful experience for our staff so we have taken the decision to close the store for business for the rest of the day and let the police focus on their investigation.”
Just last year, three masked robbers stormed Hamilton and Inches jewellers in Edinburgh and made off with items worth £2m, including a £325,000 diamond necklace.
In 2013, two men raided the ROX store on George Street, taking £1m worth of jewellery before making off on a motorbike. The pair, who wielded an axe and a gun during the raid, were jailed for a total of 22 years.
Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand in the world, producing roughly 2,000 watches per day. The most expensive was a classic 1942 Rolex watch sold for over £700,000 at auction.]]>
The Traverse, Edinburgh, offers – as the name suggests – a snack, drink and thespian goodness for the all-inclusive price of £12.
Traverse Theatre Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin said the lunchtime series has “a reputation for presenting some of the most exciting, raw new writing”.
Leviathan, in collaboration with Sherman Cymru, gets the season underway with a new play by Welsh playwright, Matthew Trevannion (Bruised).
Three generations of women soak up the last of the sun’s rays in their back garden in the Welsh Valleys, where underlying tensions between the three of them are brought to boiling point in this rich poetic drama.
Leviathan is directed by Sherman Cymru Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan.
The rest of the season comprises The Day the Pope Emptied Croy by Martin McCormick, Take the Rubbish Out, Sasha by Natalia Vorozhbyt, Fat Alice by Alison Carr and Broth by Tim Primrose
The season runs from Tuesday 17 March until Saturday 18 April, with performances at 1pm and a 7pm performance on Fridays.]]>
Torquil Johnson-Ferguson was sentenced to 18 months in jail at Oban Sheriff Court for sexual offences against three boys which began over 30 years ago.
He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years,
Johnson-Ferguson owns Rua Fiola Island in the Firth of Lorn and until recently operated an activity centre on the island.
From 1976 the centre ran week long courses during the summer months offering kayaking, rock climbing and survival skills targeted at 9-14-year-old boys from private schools throughout the UK.
It was during these courses that on three separate occasions, between 1981 and 1986, Johnson-Ferguson carried out the sexual assaults on the boys all aged 13 or under.
Speaking after the sentencing Procurator Fiscal Fraser Gibson said: “Torquil Johnson-Ferguson was in a position of trust and abused that to prey on vulnerable young boys.
“For nearly thirty years he may well have thought that he had escaped justice but he was wrong and is now paying the consequences for his actions.
“I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them. They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all we can to deliver justice.”]]>
Central YMCA, which supports young people into work through its national YMCA Training operation, has launched a roadmap of eight key recommendations.
Its Pathways Into Employment Manifesto 2015 calls for a full review of the ways in which Ofsted grades training providers.
YMCA believes that the current method is limiting opportunities for young people from hard-to-reach groups and penalising training providers for investing time in individuals who may have huge potential but lower initial attainment levels.
The charity is calling for the removal of the current 16-hour rule for young people?in full-time skills study programmes.
It also believes there should be an expansion of the scheme to allow the full recovery of training costs to those aged 19 and older in certain sectors where it‘s not always possible to employ younger apprentices, such as healthcare.
Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, says: “As economic recovery leads to a natural reduction in unemployment there is a danger that, whichever government comes into power at the next election, they will think it’s “job done” when it comes to youth unemployment.
“This cannot be allowed to happen. The impact of sustained unemployment for young people will last for the rest of their lives. Even after they re-enter the workforce, young people who have had significant periods of unemployment are at increased risk of becoming unemployed again and, research shows, earn less on average than their peers who have unbroken education and employment histories.”]]>
Hopscotch, based in Edinburgh, was founded in 1998 and since then has enabled approximately 5000 vulnerable young people and carers to enjoy respite with activities including beach visits and horse riding.
The money was raised at an event preceding the Scottish Conservatives’ annual conference in Edinburgh and is enough to enable five children to stay at the retreat for a week.
Hopscotch relies entirely on donations to fund the centre.
The cheque was presented by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to representatives of Hopscotch during their visit to The Scottish Parliament today.
She said: “We are very proud to be making this donation to Hopscotch – which provides a unique facility at Ardvullin on the Ardnmurchan peninsula.
“It’s so important that kids have access to the outdoors and the countryside, but the truth is that for one reason or another, many children don’t have that luxury.
“It is a credit to everyone who donated at our annual Blue Review event that they are helping such a worthwhile cause.”]]>
Chop Chop specialises in serving up dishes from the north-east of China compared with the predominantly Hong Kong cuisine of most restaurants in the sector.
The Glasgow restaurant, in Mitchell Street, features an “an outdoor design, transporting guests to a park in China with a cherry blossom tree and a garden path leading guests from the entrance to the bar”.
Dishes are brought to the table in random order as soon as they are ready.
The unlimited banquet option is offered to large groups as a way to try a wide variety of different dishes and costs £20.25 per person.
An unlimited business lunch is offered priced at £7.50 and an unlimited weekend lunch at £14.95, including soft drinks, hot drinks and dessert.
Owner and head chef Jian Wang said: “We are really excited about the new design in our Glasgow restaurant which will be emulated across our subsequent restaurant openings.
“We have been planning to expand for a number of years and Glasgow seemed like the obvious next step.”]]>
Operation Quarterlight is a nationwide operation aimed at reducing motor vehicle crime across Scotland.
As has happened elsewhere in Scotland, targeted patrols will be carried out in the Forth Valley area and vehicles entering the area will be checked.
Community officers will be on hand across the division to remind motorists of their personal responsibilities including always ensuring their vehicles are securely locked and removing valuables from cars.
Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Thomson said: “Local policing is at the heart of all we do. Officers right across Scotland are targeting criminals who commit car crime.
“Operation Quarterlight is about preventing vehicle crime, and targeting those responsible. I would say this directly to those intent on committing vehicle crime in Scotland – if you engage in such activity, we will use every resource at our disposal to trace you, arrest you and bring you to justice.”
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Smith said: “Currently there are individuals coming into the Forth Valley area who are targeting high-value vehicles. We have placed our officers around the division with the intention of tracing and arresting those criminals, and disrupting any traveling offenders.”
Anyone with information about motor vehicle crime should contact Police Scotland on 101 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.]]>
The I’d Do Anything and Les Misérables star, appears to be drowning in the PETA advert, which spells out the fact fish suffocate out of water.
The group is trying to persuade consumers to stop eating fish with the slogan “Please Try to Relate, and Keep Fish off Your Plate.”
“Fish have the same capacity to feel pain and to suffer as dogs and cats do”, said PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi.
“PETA are delighted to have teamed up with Samantha Barks, a long-time vegetarian, to encourage the public to help all animals by leaving them off their plates.”
Winner of multiple awards for her debut film role in Les Misérables, Barks has starred in stage productions of Cabaret, Les Misérables, Oliver! and others. She next stars in A Hundred Streets alongside Gemma Arterton and Idris Elba.
Barks joins a growing list of celebrities – including Vivienne Westwood, John Bishop, Joss Stone, Paul McCartney and Joaquin Phoenix – who have teamed up with PETA to promote the group’s motto, which reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”.]]>
The report, Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions, was written by a coalition of major UK Churches including the Church of Scotland, Church Action on Poverty, the Church in Wales, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church.
It contains new data on the severity and length of sanctions under Welfare Reform, and on how sanctions affect vulnerable groups such as children and those with mental health problems.
The Poverty Truth Commission heard the story of a 40-year-old man from Glasgow who was sanctioned for missing an appointment.
A divorcee, he is a proud father who has worked for most of his life.
He now has no gas or electricity and has been reduced to shoplifting for food. While telling his story, shame, humiliation and desperation reduced him to tears.
Commenting on the publication of the report, the Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, said: “As a society we need to face up to the reality of this situation and think: is this really what we want to happen?
“It isn’t right that punishment rather support is what we offer to families or people with mental health problems who can’t find work.
“That’s why today we’re calling for a full and independent review of the sanctions regime.”
The Churches are also recommending urgent reform of the hardship payments system to avoid the deliberate imposition of hunger and are urging the Government to suspend all sanctions against families with children and those suffering from mental health problems.
Most importantly, they say, there needs to be a change of culture, from one of enforcement and punishment to one of assistance and support.]]>
The band will play Glasgow, London, Manchester and Bristol in mid-December.
The Glasgow gig, at the SSE Hydro, will be on Friday, December 18, with presale tickets available from March 4 and tickets on general sale from March 9.
The band is celebrating its 25th anniversary and recently released a new album, Texas 25, which entered the official UK album chart at number 5.
In the past quarter century the band has sold over 38 million albums, toured across the world and been awarded with an Ivor Novello Award.]]>