Student is dragged along road by bag-snatcher in car

A YOUNG woman was dragged alongside a car after a passenger made a grab for her designer handbag.

The 22-year-old victim had to be treated in hospital after the attempted robbery, which happened in broad daylight on St Mary's Street.

She managed to keep hold of her 1,000 Louis Vuitton bag but was dragged for a "few yards" before falling to the ground.

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It is understood three men were in a parked car near the Travelodge on St Mary's Street when a rear-seat passenger beckoned the woman over and spoke with her before trying to snatch the bag.

The woman, an English student, had been walking in the city centre with a friend at about 9:50am when the back-seat passenger caught her attention.

Detective Chief Inspector Iain Ramsay hailed the victim's "resilience" and said the crime, was "unusual for the time of day and unusual full stop".

"In my experience I cannot remember another incident where someone has used this method," he said.

"We have not had any other reports like this, or of anything similar and I touch wood that it does not happen again."

DCI Ramsay said the male would-be thief – described as being white, between 25 and 35 years old, with short dark hair and facial hair – told the woman he recognised her and "engaged in brief conversation" before swooping on her bag. Descriptions for the other two men are not yet available.

"I think it's been a natural reaction from her to hold on, in that it's her property and a high-value item to her," said the detective.

"She managed to hold on to the bag and fell on to the road but fortunately there were no other vehicles nearby.

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"It could have been worse but luckily that scenario was averted. The fact that she only received minor injuries meant it was only a few feet she was pulled along."

The woman was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary but was released shortly after.

The detective said that anyone who saw the "distinctive" handbag would assume "it must have expensive contents" and called the attempted theft "opportunistic".

"She was visibly shaken by the incident," he said. "But she is quite resilient.

"It came as a surprise to her but she has not said anything that suggests she has been (mentally] scarred by the incident."

One eyewitness said he heard "loud screams" and then saw someone falling on to the road.

"I was walking down the street and heard a few screams, which made me turn round.

"I saw her falling to the ground. There were a dozen or so people crowded round her right away making sure she was OK.

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"She seemed shocked and distressed and was holding her arm."

Police are appealing for information, particularly in relation to the car, which was a dark coloured five-door hatchback, last seen being driven west on the High Street/Royal Mile towards the junction with South Bridge. "We ask people to take a commonsense approach if they are asked to approach a vehicle containing people that they do not recognise," said DCI Ramsay.