AN ELDERLY brother and sister were subjected to a terrifying robbery by a gang of five men wearing balaclavas who burst into their home.
One of the men knocked on the door of the ground floor colony flat in Edinburgh’s Haymarket area, saying he was there to check the gas supply.
When the door was opened, all five burst in and held the pair in a bedroom while they searched the property on McLaren Terrace. The gang then fled with a three-figure sum on Sunday, at 6:45pm.
The pair, both in their 80s, were uninjured. However the woman, named locally as Florence Clark, was taken to hospital the following morning suffering from shock.
Police are currently investigating the incident but on Monday night neighbours told how they believed the siblings were targeted because of their age.
William Watt, 80, a neighbour, said: “This is the first crime like this in all the time I’ve lived here – 50 years. They must have been watching and seen an elderly couple on their own. They would not have randomly chosen a house.”
He added: “They’re very quiet, really nice people. Flo’s always been nice. She used to go on long walks around Edinburgh when she was able to. Nowadays she goes to a care home during the day.”
The shocked community is preparing to rally round the pair. Gillian James, 48, another neighbour, said: “They’re lovely, a really, really nice couple. They will never get over that. Something like that is awful, absolutely awful. It would terrify anyone, let alone an elderly couple.”
She added: “I arrived back from the supermarket, just as the police van arrived. I thought, ‘Oh God, that’s my lane’. The police came and knocked on the door and asked if we saw anything.
“It’s really surprising that we did not hear anything because it’s so quiet around here. They must have got in very quickly.
The pair had not returned to their home yesterday. There were no police outside and no sign of what had taken place hours earlier. The garden, which Ms Clark’s brother, a former builder, tends, was well kept with the lawn neatly cut.
Police described the man who knocked on the door as 6ft, dark-skinned, in his 30s, with an Edinburgh accent and wearing a dark jacket and trousers. The remaining four suspects were all 6ft and wearing dark clothing.
Detective Sergeant John Graham, of Police Scotland, said: “While both victims weren’t physically harmed, this was still a terrifying ordeal for them to be subjected to, particularly given their age, and the lady had to receive hospital treatment for the effects of shock.
“We have launched an investigation in order to trace those responsible, and we are appealing for any information that can assist our inquiries.
“Anyone who was in the area of McLaren Terrace, who saw a group of men acting suspiciously there, should contact police.
“Likewise, anyone else who has any information that they think can help our inquiries should also get in touch.”