Fountainbridge residents plagued by drug-related crime

Jim Orr pictured in a stairwell in Rankeillor Street that has become a shooting gallery for legal highs. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Jim Orr pictured in a stairwell in Rankeillor Street that has become a shooting gallery for legal highs. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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RESIDENTS have been left living in “a scene from Trainspotting” after being plagued by drug users and antisocial behaviour.

Families in housing association flats in Fountainbridge will gather this evening for an emergency meeting with the local residents’ association amid increasing numbers of needles being discarded.

In an attempt to curb drug-related crime in the area, Police Scotland launched Operation Halfbeak last month, and arrested two men in connection with drugs offences.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, but lives in the Dunedin Canmore Housing Association development on Yeaman Place, compared the situation with Danny Boyle’s hit movie Trainspotting.

He said: “It’s just unacceptable at the moment, people in our flat close are scared to go out, it’s getting that bad.

“People are dealing drugs in the stairwells, sometimes taking drugs in the stairwells and often when you go out the front there’s people lying on the ground because they have overdosed.

“It’s like a scene from Trainspotting. These streets which were once a lovely place to live have been turned into a ghetto.”

The North Merchiston Residents Association has backed up the concerns and arranged this evening’s meeting in the student union bar on Gibson Terrace.

Local Green councillor Gavin Corbett said neighbours needed assurances that the problems were being dealt with.

He said: “Over the last three years I’ve had a number of reports from residents in the area between Gibson Terrace and Yeaman Place, with drug-dealing, discarded needles and street disturbances all highlighted.

“Over the last three or four months it seems to have flared up again, and I know Police Scotland have launched Operation Halfbeak, targeted in the area.

“However, it is right that the police work alongside the council and with Dunedin-Canmore housing association to reassure local residents that the problem is being tackled. That’s the purpose of tonight’s meeting.”

Operation Halfbeak was run in collaboration with the city council and Dunedin Canmore Housing Association.

It began in September and ran for two weeks.

Inspector Liz Duthie, of Police Scotland, said: “We take antisocial behaviour and the sale and use of illegal drugs extremely seriously.

“As a force we are committed to identifying and targeting those responsible for the distribution of drugs from our communities. Confidential information from the public plays a key part in this.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact officers on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Similar concerns have been regularly raised in the Southside by independent councillor Jim Orr.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk

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