Rising fear of gun crime as man to appear in court

Police attend the scene in Gilmerton on Monday. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Police attend the scene in Gilmerton on Monday. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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Fresh fears have been raised about a “disturbing” level of gun crime in the Capital after a shooting which forced a young mum to flee her home.

A 24-year-old man was due to appear in court today in connection with the incident on Gilmerton Dykes Avenue on Monday morning.

Police have pledged to boost patrols in the area to reassure residents, and officers have stressed that the latest shooting is not linked to earlier incidents.

But residents and community leaders believe the latest case – in which two shots were fired at the bedroom window of a family home before the gunman allegedly fled on a motorbike – raises questions about how criminals are accessing the weapons.

The early morning drama on Monday is the latest in a string of firearms incidents since September.

Homes in Gilmerton, Liberton and Pilton have been shot at, while there have also been a number of armed robberies on shops including newsagents and bookmakers.

And a robber who raided the prestigious Laing jewellery store on Hanover Street was found to have a sub-machine gun stashed at his home.

Local councillor Nick Cook said that gun crime has “no place in our city”.

The Liberton/Gilmerton Tory representative said: “Like local residents, I was disturbed at reports of yet another 
firearms incident in the area. In this instance I hope news of a swift arrest will help bring residents some relief.

“However, there is wider concern regarding the frequency of these incidents. I do think there are questions to be asked as to how offenders are so easily acquiring firearms in the first place and what more can be done to thwart these incidents in advance.”

The Gilmerton shooting suspect, who has not yet been named, was arrested in a late-night drama which involved a car being stopped by armed police on Buckstone Terrace on Monday night. It is understood a major police operation continued into the early hours of yesterday morning before a man was apprehended.

Police refused to give further details on the arrest, saying they could not comment further until the conclusion of court proceedings.

The ground-floor flat in Gilmerton Dykes Avenue remained deserted yesterday, with all the curtains closed. The residents – a young mother and her two children – are believed to be staying with relatives.

Detectives are understood to have visited shops at nearby Gilmerton Dykes Street to ask for external CCTV footage. One businessman described the area as a “blind spot” for CCTV, and claimed that criminals took advantage of that.

A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland treats all reports of firearms offences seriously and will utilise all available resources to tackle crimes of this nature. Members of the local community will notice an increased policing presence in the area and if they have information this can be given to officers.”