Drunk-driver crashes twice as police take hour to respond

The vehicle crashed twice in the car park at the BMC social club in Gorgie's Westfield Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The vehicle crashed twice in the car park at the BMC social club in Gorgie's Westfield Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MAN who called 999 to report a drunk motorist who was driving recklessly near a pub has told how he waited nearly an hour for police to respond.

Dean Gilroy said he was “disgusted” to think that the driver of the car, which is suspected to have been stolen, could have ploughed into someone while he waited for officers.

The police call centre was contacted three times. Picture: Julie Bull

The police call centre was contacted three times. Picture: Julie Bull

He watched as the vehicle crashed twice in the car park at the BMC social club in Gorgie’s Westfield Street.

It comes after the M9 crash earlier this month in which two people died, prompting major concerns about the way emergency calls are handled.

Mr Gilroy spotted a car being driven with no lights on shortly after 1am on Sunday. When he flagged down the car and the male driver put the window down, there was a strong smell of alcohol and cannabis.

Concerned that the driver could hurt someone, he called 999 – while the revs of the car were clearly audible in the background – but claims he waited 45 minutes for police before giving up.

Someone could have been hit. There were quite a few people in the car park – they were all shocked

Dean Gilroy

Around 20 minutes after the initial call, the driver crashed into the fence beside the bar’s smoking area, before he and his passenger fled the scene.

Mr Gilroy, 32, said: “I saw this car, screeching into the car park. I said, ‘you’ve got no lights on’. The stench of alcohol and cannabis was unbelievable.

“The car stopped and they tried to move it. I phoned the police and gave them the registration number. I waited for nearly an hour and nobody turned up. They crashed the car twice.

“Someone could have been hit. Especially with what happened the other week with the couple in the car. There were quite a few people in the car park – they were all so shocked. I’m disgusted with Police Scotland to be honest.”

Richard Anderson, a steward at the social club, said he also called police after customers raised concerns.

He said: “People had phoned twice about it, and I phoned the third time and said, ‘you need to get out here’. If the crash had happened five minutes earlier, at that time there were lots of people waiting for a taxi. It could have been dangerous.”

A police spokeswoman insisted the call was taken seriously and said officers were still trying to establish whether the car was stolen or not.

She said: “Police received a report of a male believed to be under the influence of alcohol while within a car in Westfield Street, at around 1.15am on Saturday. A second call was then received and while advisors were in the process of allocating officers to attend. A third call was received reporting the vehicle had collided with a licensed premises in the area.

“Officers responded to the scene where the vehicle was found abandoned and has since been uplifted for examination.

“Inquiries are ongoing to trace those within the car and police have already spoken to a number of witnesses. Anyone else who witnessed this incident is asked to come forward.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com