IT has all the hallmarks of an elaborate heist by Ocean’s 11 –although the spoils are likely to be more modest.
Police are hunting a gang over a series of overnight raids on the Royal Mile in which thousands of pounds in cash and cigarettes were seized.
Four stores were raided within 36 hours by thieves able to bypass triple-lock fire doors and cut power and phone lines to prevent alarms sounding.
The Royal Mile Supermarket was broken into in the early hours of yesterday morning, with £2000 worth of cigarettes removed. A small sum of cash was also stolen.
It followed a break-in at Focus, a skate-wear clothing store on nearby Canongate at around 4am on Tuesday morning, where cash was also lost.
Police said at least two other break-ins or attempted break-ins had taken place in the Canongate/Abbeyhill area since Tuesday and believe the incidents are all linked.
Graham Muir, who owns the Royal Mile Supermarket, said: “I arrived this morning and found the place had been broken into overnight.
“All of the cigarettes were gone, along with £100 cash.
“I also had foreign currency, rupees and Chinese yuan, which was taken. It’s very frustrating as I stocked this specially for customers.
“The shop is a mess as well and it will take some time to get up and running again.”
During the robbery, the culprits used a ladder to smash an alarm sensor monitoring the front door, before using it to scale a 12ft security door down a nearby allyway. They then cut wires on the outside of the building, knocking out the alarms, before breaking into the store and tilting security cameras to face the roof.
It is thought the break-in was carried out by professionals, as only cigarettes, which are easier to sell, were taken.
Mr Muir said it was clear from the nature of the crime that whoever was behind the break-ins knew exactly what they were doing.
He said: “They broke through the fire door to the rear of the shop, despite it being triple locked.
“They cut the power and the phone lines. There was a break-in at Focus down the road just two nights before and they did the exact same thing.
“There’s a cafe further down the Royal Mile which has been done three times in recent weeks.
“It’s clear they see this as an easy target as its so quiet at night.”
A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are investigating following a number of break-ins and attempted break-ins at business premises in the Abbeyhill, Canongate and Royal Mile areas of Edinburgh.
“Officers believe the crimes are linked and high-visibility patrols will be out in the area to engage with local retailers and offer crime prevention advice.”