Middle-aged passer-by joined teens’ attack on police

Portobello police station. Picture: Greg Macvean
Portobello police station. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A MIDDLE-aged passer-by joined in as a teenage gang kicked and punched two uniformed officers on the ground outside a police station.

The shocking revelation comes after the News told yesterday how two PCs – one of whom was a woman – were attacked by the youths on the doorstep of the Portobello base.

It is understood that the older man had been walking along the High Street when he came across the gang – and rather than stepping in to help the officers, he decided to take part in the violent sustained beating.

The two officers were attacked outside the station on Sunday night at around 7pm.

They had rushed outside to the aid of a young girl after hearing “distressed” cries.

However, when they tried to assist, she shouted abuse at them and tried to run away.

Several of her friends – who were in a wider group of around 15 youths – then started attacking the officers, kicking, punching and pushing them to the ground.

The News understands that during the assault, a man was walking along the pavement alone before getting involved in the attack.

He is believed to live locally and had no connection with the gang.

City police boss Chief Superintendent Mark Williams today described the incident as “abhorrent”.

Two boys – aged 14 and 15 – have been arrested and charged in connection with the assault, while inquiries are ongoing to trace a third young boy.

A 51-year-old man has also been arrested and was due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court this morning.

Portobello residents claim a wave of antisocial behaviour is continuing in the seaside community. One woman, who asked not to be named, said that while the police officer attack was the most serious, there have been numerous examples of intimidating behaviour.

She said: “It’s abominable and dreadful. I won’t say that it’s slowed down since the weekend. In fact, there have been quite significant events on the promenade.”

The resident said concerns had been growing after reports of vandalism in gardens and aggressive behaviour on the beach.

“I think resources are very stretched – the police have to be supported to manage this,” she said.

“Even just a few weeks ago, we were on the prom and there were some youths. They were kicking balls about and seemed quite happy to kick them at people – it was intimidating.

“But to assault two police officers is absolutely appalling. It’s the sense that there is this disenfranchised group that has nothing left to lose.

“It would be great for there to be more of a police presence. We want this to be a place where residents can feel safe and people can feel that they can visit and be safe.

“We don’t want people to be intimidated. People will think twice about wanting to move there. These things are happening at 7pm at night.”

Ch Supt Williams said: “There will be additional patrols in the vicinity, particularly over the weekend ahead. We will not tolerate antisocial behaviour or violent crime, regardless of someone’s age.”