A would-be Royal Mile robber turned aggressive after a 64-year-old man refused to give him money for magic tricks.
The incident happened at about 10.50pm on Wednesday at the top of Cranston Street, where it joins the Royal Mile.
A 64-year-old man was approached by a man who asked for money but the victim refused.
The suspect then offered to do a magic trick in return for money, but this was also turned down. He then began to threaten the victim while demanding cash.
Two men then intervened and the suspect fled towards St Mary’s Street.
Detective Constable Iain Wallace, of Gayfield CID, said: “The victim was thankfully left unharmed as a result of the incident but was left understandably distressed.
“I am keen to trace the two men who stepped in and assisted the victim.
“They stopped in a vehicle, described as being a white flatbed van, on the Royal Mile before the suspect fled.
“Anyone who witnessed what happened, or who recognises the description of the suspect, is asked to get in touch.”
The suspect is described as white, aged 30 to 35, around 6ft and slim.
He was wearing a parka-style jacket, dark-coloured trousers and Dr Martens-style boots. He also hard a large key on a string around his neck and was carrying two sleeping bags.
Officers urged those with information to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 4646 of May 23 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.