Tenants vow to rid stair of ‘drug dealer’

Gullan's Close, off the Royal Mile. Picture:Scott Taylo
Gullan's Close, off the Royal Mile. Picture:Scott Taylo
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a HOUSING association has pledged to take action to root out an alleged drug dealer who is making life a misery for tenants in a city centre tenement.

Residents of Gullan’s Close, just off the Royal Mile, have been increasingly concerned about drug use and antisocial behaviour in their stair.

Tenants claim that a resident has been dealing heroin through his letterbox, attracting drug addicts who leave syringes and other paraphernalia behind.

One man described his frail 84-year-old neighbour as “scared to leave her flat”.

Castle Rock Edinvar, the housing association which runs the complex, has unveiled a series of measures – including launching eviction 
proceedings against the alleged dealer – following a public meeting.

A security guard has been appointed and the “service” button in the intercom system has been disabled to stop drug-users gaining access.

There are also plans to lock the communal laundry room, which was reportedly being used by addicts to “shoot up” and sleep rough.

Around half of the 31 tenants were at the meeting last Thursday, alongside police and council representatives.

The resident, who asked not to be named, said plans to combat the issue were welcome, but more should be done.

He said: “We’ve had pretty much the whole gambit of drug dealing – cooking equipment in the stairs and balcony, and sometimes you can come down the stairs and see the junkies still with needles in them. We have seen people climbing in the security gates.

“For me, it’s black and white. It says in the tenancy agreement you must not use drugs, you must not use flats as a business, must not engage in antisocial behaviour. If anyone is engaging in this, they should be evicted.”

At the meeting, residents were told a security guard would be put in place on a 9am-5pm basis, and daily cleaning patrols were to be introduced.

It remains to be seen whether police will take action against the alleged drug dealer, and Castle Rock Edinvar told residents that planned eviction proceedings could take months.

“The police seem to think there’s not enough evidence to prosecute the dealer, which is pretty ridiculous,” said the tenant, who has lived at the close for 12 years.

He added: “It’s incredible, the location of it. If the police van comes up here, we’d get tourists with their cameras. It’s not a good advert.”

Sandy Welsh, head of housing services at Castle Rock Edinvar, said the meeting had been positive.

He said: “We updated residents on changes we have introduced to the caretaking service at Gullan’s Close which includes daily cleaning patrols.”

Inspector Emma Croft of Police Scotland said: “We were pleased with the outcome of the meeting and will continue to support the residents and our partners at Castle Rock Edinvar to prevent and detect crime.

“We are also working with Edinburgh City Council and the NHS to address any antisocial behaviour issues. We will patrol the area and provide a visible police presence.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com