A GANG is believed to have a targeted a £325,000 diamond necklace in an armed raid described as Scotland's biggest jewel heist.

A second car used by the gang, which stole more than £1 million of jewellery in an armed raid, has now also been recovered by police.

Three men threatened staff with a machete and an axe and smashed open display cases at the Hamilton and Inches store in George Street, Edinburgh, last month.

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More than £800,000 of jewellery was stolen from the window displays alone, with a £325,000 Chatila necklace the most expensive item taken during the raid on Friday June 6.

A full inventory of what was stolen is still being drawn up, but Chatila earrings worth £95,000, eight Patek Philippe watches ranging from £22,000 to £66,000 and diamond rings worth £61,000 were also taken by the gang.

The raiders, who wore dark clothing, made their escape in a white BMW car driven by a fourth man, which was later found abandoned in Gloucester Lane. Police have now recovered a second car that was later used by the gang.

Officers believe at least four people would have been travelling in the dark blue Honda CRV, which is thought to have been driven north along Gloucester Street on to Kerr Street, then through Stockbridge towards Raeburn Place. It was recovered abandoned in a car park at East Pilton Farm Rigg in Edinburgh.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw the car, thought to be a 2007 model, on the day of the robbery to contact them.

Detective Inspector Carol Craig said: "The response we have had from members of the public to this very serious incident has been terrific so far.

"But those responsible have still to be identified and we hope that the recovery of the dark blue Honda CRV could prove crucial. We are appealing for anyone who may have seen the vehicle being driven in Stockbridge around the time of the robbery or being dumped at East Pilton Farm Rigg to come forward.

"This was clearly a very high-value robbery and the items involved very precious pieces of jewellery. It was also a frightening experience for the staff at the shop and we are working hard to establish exactly what happened."

Witnesses told how the masked gang carrying an axe, a machete and a hammer pushed through tourists and shoppers before smashing into the displays. The raid was over in a few minutes and no-one was injured.

One eyewitness said the ­incident was like a scene from the TV crime series Taggart.

A police source said it was ­possible the raiders had some "specialist knowledge" because of the way the bladed weapons were used.

Police Scotland were at the incident within minutes and armed response units were deployed in the search for the gang.

Robert Kirk Inches and his uncle James Hamilton opened their first premises at 90A Princes Street in Edinburgh, under the name Hamilton and Inches, on November 10 1866.