POLICE failed to seize a stolen scooter dumped next to a family garden – despite being repeatedly alerted to the theft by an exasperated resident.
The woman told how she dialled 999 three times in 80 minutes to report the stolen vehicle lying in Ferry Road Drive before joyriders returned with a can of petrol and raced off on it.
A spokesman for Police Scotland confirmed they were “unable to attend prior to the scooter being removed” because they were too busy dealing with other bike thieves to pick it up.
Tormented residents in north Edinburgh have hit out at the police for being “powerless” to stop the gang of joyriders, who have stolen dozens of motorcycles in recent months, which are raced at high speeds before being dumped or set on fire.
The police did register a success in the fight against the gang, arresting a 14-year-old boy on Friday in connection with the theft of motorbikes from German tourists in June.
The theft was highlighted by the News after a youth posted a Facebook picture showing him astride a Honda bike similar to one stolen outside a Fountainbridge hotel.
Today, a woman living in Drylaw told how she had hoped police could reunite a stolen scooter left next to her house with the owner and perhaps allow forensic evidence to be recovered.
The resident, who declined to be named, said: “Ferry Road Drive is ground zero for these kids going along on bikes. They fly past most nights from about 8pm and often wake us up as late as 3am, revving the engines. I’d say various bikes pass our house 20 to 30 times a night and there’s a sleeping policeman in the street which they use as a ramp to do wheelies.”
She added: “On Wednesday we saw three youths on a scooter. There’s parking to the rear and at about 9.20pm they left the scooter in the car park and put some kind of motorbike cover over it.
“I phoned the police to tell them they could come and collect a stolen scooter, and I was told an officer would attend. I phoned twice more to remind them but no officers turned up.
“At about 10.40pm the three youths came back with a can of petrol. They filled up the bike and went off again. I phoned the police to tell them, ‘don’t bother, it’s gone’.”
Another resident said: “I’m not surprised the police didn’t turn up. They don’t have the resources. Dumped bikes are often left lying for a while before the police collect them.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police received numerous calls from members of the public on Wednesday in relation to youths driving inappropriately on a motor scooter within the Drylaw area.
“Local officers were deployed immediately to trace the vehicle and its riders and during this time a further call was made to police to report an abandoned scooter at an address in Ferry Road Drive.
“Police were dealing with similar reports nearby, and were unable to attend prior to the scooter being removed.”