Residents’ fear as dirt bike gang takes over park

Community councillors Su Millar and Stewart Sandilands at St Katherine's. Picture: Scott Taylor
Community councillors Su Millar and Stewart Sandilands at St Katherine's. Picture: Scott Taylor
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A GANG of bikers has taken over a city park and is “terrorising” residents, some of whom say they are too afraid to complain to police about their behaviour.

The youths have been seen using St Katherine’s Park in Liberton like a “Formula One circuit”, disturbing residents with noise, “gouging up” flowers planted by schoolchildren and turning the grass into a muddy bog.

The complaints about the bikers follow a spate of break-ins in the area.

The community council was told there had been ten garages targeted in the Mortonhall area alone.

A police spokesman confirmed they had had around 30 calls in one evening about the issue of dirt bikes and have now charged three youths in connection with a number of offences, including the theft of a motorbike.

However, many residents still fear confronting the bikers, who have been accused of throwing bricks through the windows of any resident they suspect of complaining to the police.

Community councillor and resident Su Millar said: “St Katherine’s Park is one area where younger lads are hopping on and off and swapping bikes.

“It’s been going on for quite a few months but more recently they’ve been riding around the streets. On one Friday, I got home at around 10.20pm and was turning a corner and one of the cycles overtook me on a 90 degree bend but they don’t care – they’re not wearing helmets and are going very fast.

“They are coming into the street and using it like an Formula One circuit – it goes on and on.”

Ms Millar said there were quite a few elderly residents in the area who were “getting very annoyed” but were either too scared or simply did not see the point in reporting the gang.

“Why should we have to move out and leave our homes?” Ms Millar asked. “People have confronted these people and ended up with bricks through their windows.

“If they [the riders] see a police car outside your house they put two and two together and make five.”

The problem has been a big issue throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians, with Midlothian Council even embarking on a campaign over the Easter break to beat antisocial behaviour.

School link and community officers spoke to pupils about the consequences of becoming involved in such incidents, the consumption of alcohol and substance misuse, and the use of off-road trail motorbikes.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Youths riding on dirt bikes in the Howdenhall area is a problem that we are aware of and one which we are addressing.

“There have already been arrests made and officers will thoroughly investigate all reports of antisocial behaviour.”

A council spokesman said: “We will work with the police to tackle any antisocial behaviour issues that affect the local community.”

Gang steals pizza moped

A GANG of teenagers stole a moped from a Pizza Hut delivery man and was later seen joyriding on the vehicle around a city estate.

The moped was stolen on Greendykes Road at around 7pm on Friday.

A witness reported seeing the bike being driven on Niddrie Mains Road at around 9.30 that evening. He said three teenagers could be seen riding the moped without helmets.

Police later received reports of youths riding a similar-looking bike in the area at around 7pm on Sunday. It is understood the bike has still not been recovered.

A number of joyriding incidents has been reported to police in recent weeks.

Several youths have been spotted on motorbikes in the Craigmillar area, often riding with pillion passengers and without safety helmets, sparking fears for their safety and for passers-by.

The crime often increases during school holidays and in warmer weather.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police received a report of a stolen pizza delivery moped from outside an address on Greendykes Road on the evening of April 18. Inquiries are ongoing.”