Calls for action on disorder despite police reassurances

Police investigators at the scene of John Auld's death in Tranent

Police investigators at the scene of John Auld's death in Tranent

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THERE have been calls for more action to tackle drink-related disorder in a town where a delivery driver was killed, despite police reporting an 80 per cent drop in calls.

Business owners in Tranent, East Lothian, have complained that streets at the weekend are plagued with antisocial behaviour and violence, often linked to drugs and alcohol.

Police have again increased patrols but say a previous crackdown means crime is at an all-time low in the area.

The Evening News reported yesterday how attack victim John Auld was looking to give up his takeaway delivery job because he feared for his safety.

It is believed he was attacked after going to the defence of the owner of Kopa’s takeaway on Sunday evening.

Two men – aged 30 and 36 – have been charged with the 59-year-old’s murder.

John McGovern, 46, one of his best friends, said they would often discuss the problems in Tranent.

“He would tell me about gangs of youths going about the High Street on a Friday or Saturday night, and all the drunks. He would see a lot of it. It it left people scared to walk the street.

“Someone should do something about the problems in the High Street because John did not deserve to go out like that.”

Stewart Henderson, who owns The Bakery just opposite where the incident took place, said: “I know at the weekend in particular Tranent can be a bit aggressive and there’s a lot of fighting and a lot of drinking.

“When I come into work on a Monday morning you can see the damage from the weekend; broken windows, bottles on the street.”

Peter Fallen, who runs the East Lothian Camera Shop, added: “It’s drug-related and alcohol plays a part too.

“Sometimes you’ll get folk fighting over the football.”

Some residents too said they were reluctant to walk the main street on weekend nights.

Retired Mary Phillips, 68, said: “I certainly wouldn’t come down here on my own on a Friday or Saturday night, whereas I might have done a few years back.

“I don’t know if that’s because I’m older and more suspicious or if the problem’s actually worse.”

Last month police reported complaints involving youths had fallen by around 80 per cent in Tranent and surrounding areas as a result of a crackdown.

Superintendent Phil O’Kane from Lothian and Borders Police said: “High-visibility patrols are now under way in the town, with officers engaging with the community to reassure them after this incident.

“Two men were quickly detained and have since been charged with murder and have appeared in court today.

“Officers will remain on the streets as long as is necessary, but it should be remembered that incidents like this are relatively unusual, and overall antisocial behaviour in the Tranent area is at an all-time low.”