AN eleven-year-old boy has been charged after an undercover operation to catch youths vandalising buses.
A “decoy” bus carrying plain clothes police officers posing as passengers was used for the three-day operation, named Spinefoot, in the Oxgangs area.
The boy was apprehended by officers after throwing a glass bottle at the vehicle.
Officers also carried out high-visibility patrols in the area and used the council’s CCTV van to capture evidence of offences.
Sergeant William Telford of Oxgangs said: “This operation was launched in response to a number of complaints from the local community about objects being thrown at buses and other vehicles in the area.
“These types of incidents cause alarm to passengers and risk distracting the driver, which threatens the safety of all road users.
“A further two males were also charged in connection with this behaviour in early July, and we’ll continue to deter and detect offences wherever possible.”
It’s the not the first time Lothian Buses has worked with the police by using a decoy or dummy bus to stop vandalism attacks. The firm used a similar tactic last November following a spate of attacks on its vehicles by a gang of youths in Dalkeith, Midlothian.
At that time, locals claimed around 30 buses had been attacked over the preceding months with rocks and traffic cones.
City Community Safety Leader Councillor Cammy Day praised the latest operation. He said: “Bus drivers and their passengers should be able to travel safely throughout the city without the risk of injury as a result of this sort of immature, dangerous and criminal behaviour.
“The council continues to work very closely with Police Scotland and Lothian Buses to tackle this issue in the south-west of Edinburgh and we would urge anyone with information about these incidents to come forward without delay.”
A spokesperson for Lothian Buses said: “Lothian Buses takes the safety and comfort of our staff and passengers very seriously. Through our dedicated Police Liaison Officer, Lothian Buses works in partnership with Police Scotland to ensure that our passengers and staff can travel in a safe environment at all times.”
Last year, we told how a passenger narrowly escaped injury after two moving buses were attacked by vandals within minutes of each other.
Beer bottles were hurled at both vehicles, shattering windows and showering at least one passenger with broken glass.
Both incidents happened after 10pm on a Sunday night in the same area of Hyvots Bank in Gilmerton.
And in June, police appealed for information after a youth wearing a balaclava fired an air gun at a bus in Edinburgh.
That happened at about 8.30pm on Hailesland Road when the number 21 bus was travelling towards Clovenstone.
The Lothian Buses driver saw a group of four youths standing near a bridge over the union canal. One youth was wearing a balaclava and holding a gun. The driver then heard a noise like a pellet hitting the roof of the bus.
Anyone with information should call police on 101.