Police hunting a thug who followed a frail pensioner from an ATM machine before attacking him have released CCTV footage of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the incident.
The clear images, taken from the double decker’s internal spy cameras, show a heavy set, silver haired man who is being sought in connection with a major police inquiry.
They are desperate to trace the man and are appealing – via the Evening News – for anyone who recognises him to contact them immediately.
Today, a police source said: “This was a horrible assault on an innocent man.”
We exclusively told last month how the pensioner at the centre of the attack was followed by an assailant on the busy number five bus route. The frail 89-year-old had been to a Santander bank before hopping on the bus. When he got off – in the affluent Grange area – he was attacked, with the mugger grabbing his face.
The brutal incident left the man extremely shaken, said one source close to him.
“This really took the wind out of his sails,” the friend said. “It’s enough to knock anyone’s confidence.”
The incident happened on October 20. The pensioner, who walks with the aid of a stick, had caught a bus from his care home in Chalmers Crescent in the Grange to visit the Santander branch in Newington Road.
After journeying back to the Grange area from Salisbury Place, he was approached from behind as he walked beside the junction with Chalmers Crescent.
The mugger grabbed him by the face and tried to rob him of his possessions, but he found the victim, who had only been checking his account at the bank, had no cash or valuables.
The elderly man managed to make it back to his care home and alert police. In the days following the attack Lothian and Borders Police said that the possibility that the victim had been tailed back from the bank on the bus was a “line of inquiry”.
Detective Constable John McShane said: “We believe the suspect had also been on the bus, having boarded at the same time as the elderly man. Chalmers Crescent is quite a quiet street with large houses which are set back from the road. That may have been why the suspect carried out the attempted robbery there.
“It would seem obvious that this gentleman has been targeted because of his age.”
Police have now released images of a man who is twice shown on CCTV getting on the same bus as the elderly victim, first on Grange Road and then later on Salisbury Place. The heavily-built grey-haired man, who is believed to be between 45-55 years of age and around 5ft 10, is wearing a dark jacket, black baseball cap with a JEEP logo, blue jeans and dark shoes.
He can first be seen at 10.01am, getting on the bus at the same stop on Grange Road as the elderly man. Ten minutes later, he was again caught on camera on Salisbury Place, again boarding the same bus as the man who was attacked. At 10.13am the man police wish to speak to was then filmed quickly getting up out of his seat and walking down the aisle of the bus before getting off at Grange Road, at the same time as the victim, who was assaulted minutes later.
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “While the victim was not seriously injured or robbed, this was still a frightening experience. We are keen to speak to the man who is shown getting on and off the bus at the same time as the victim, and we would urge anyone who recognises him to contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 0131 311 3131, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.