EVERY schoolchild knows what a wealth of information can be gleaned from the internet.
Now, police hunting a teenage gang that caused mayhem in Burger King on Princes Street have found it can also be a powerful crime-fighting tool.
A quick search of the worldwide web is all it took to identify a youth who may prove to be crucial to the investigation.
Police looking for the person who used a mobile phone camera to film the rampage, in which 15 to 20 youths threw chairs across the restaurant and exchanged punches, have discovered a link to a teenager's own web page.
On the personalised page, someone calling himself 18-year-old Kenny Newey has posted photographs of himself and his friends, as well as the film of the brawling at Burger King. Officers now want to talk to him to ascertain what, if any, involvement he had in the events that night.
Officers said the internet had proved extremely useful to them and the discovery of the footage - which was brought to their attention by the Evening News - had been a breakthrough in their investigation.
One police source said: "Footage shown on these websites is really useful. The evidence tells us more about what happened and allows us to identify those responsible."
Police were led to Kenny Newey's home page after discovering that the user name which appeared beside footage of the mayhem posted on YouTube matched the name on a personalised page on another popular website, Bebo.
The Bebo page also includes links to sites set up by his friends, some of whom police believe may have been with him that night.
On Bebo, the teenager describes himself as Hibs-mad and makes derogatory comments about Hearts.
He has written: "There's not much to say about me. I do come from Edinburgh, I support Hibs FC. I like going drinking, clubbing and lassies too, and I do play rugby and am a proud member of the Tartan Army."
Bebo is an internet forum site commonly used by young people, where they can chat, leave messages, list their favourite things and download video clips and pictures.
The Burger King footage has led to other site users making abusive postings on his page.
One visitor to the site called him "stupid" while another, writing under the catchline "the police are after you", said: "You are an a***. Oh, you're also on the front page of the Evening News. And everyone on JambosKickback [Heart's fanzone] is laughing at you."
Police have been investigating the incident since being called by terrified staff to Burger King on December 1.
When officers arrived, the youngsters who had been causing the trouble fled either up West Register Street or across North Bridge.
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "So far three people have been charged in connection with the incident at Burger King on December 1.
"Police inquiries are ongoing and we are trying to track down other people who were involved."
Mr Newey could not be contacted for comment by the News.