Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for witnesses following two assaults and robberies in the West of Edinburgh in the past few days.

The first incident happened on 3 March 2013 around 4.20pm on the Canal Tow Path, near to the Wester Hailes Education Centre.

A 14-year-old boy was walking with a friend towards the Baberton area when a male on a bicycle approached the pair and asked for the time.

The boy checked his phone, at which time the male threatened him before stealing the phone and cycling off along the canal.

A similar incident was then reported to police on Tuesday 5 March 2013 in the Calder Gardens area.

A 16-year-old youth was walking along the rear of Sighthill Primary School, opposite Medwin House when a male approached him from behind and engaged him in conversation.

After a short time the male produced a knife and threatened the victim before demanding he hand over his possessions.

The youth gave up his phone and the suspect made off towards Wester Hailes Road, where he was lost to sight.

Police are investigating whether both these crimes are linked and have urged anyone who can assist with their enquiries to come forward.

In both incidents the suspect is described as white, around 25 years of age, average height, slim build, scars on his face and two small tattoos on his neck, possibly squares or Chinese symbols. He wore a hooded top and jogging bottoms.

A police spokesman said: “Neither victim was injured during either robbery. Nevertheless, they were left shaken and upset at the theft of their phones.

“Anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity around either the canal tow path on Saturday, or the Calder Garden area on Tuesday is asked to contact police immediately.

“We are also keen to hear from anyone who recognises the description of the suspect, or who has any other information that can help with these investigations.”

Those with information can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 101, or the charity Crimestoppers in complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.