Neighbours’ terror as youths run riot

The park where benches have been removed by police. Picture: Google
The park where benches have been removed by police. Picture: Google

NEIGHBOURS have been left too scared to go outside following a spate of vandalism by a group of youths in Saughton Mains.

Park benches where they gather have been removed and extra security cameras installed to discourage gangs of up to 20 teenagers from congregating outside the old Busy Bee pub – which featured as the King William Arms in Trainspotting 2.

Police have stepped up security measures to catch youths who have ransacked gardens, pulled up fence posts, damaged property – including smashing the windows of vehicles – and subjected local people to threats, intimidation and homophobic abuse.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said he wouldn’t “walk outside alone at the moment”, while another told how youths stopped her from buying painkillers at a local store when she spotted them attempting to bring down a lamppost by kicking it and hitting it with golf clubs.

Councillor Cathy Fullerton warned the “unacceptable behaviour” would not be tolerated and announced that “further resources” were to be allocated to local policing, including a mobile CCTV van and increased beat patrols in an attempt to curb antisocial behaviour.

She said: “I’ve heard residents’ concerns and the actions of some of these young people is absolutely unacceptable.

“Residents have been subject to threats, intimidation and homophobic abuse, as well as damage to their property and it’s something we are determined to put a stop to.

“We remain hopeful the local police can be given further resources to aid them in their work in the area and want to assure local people we are working closely with police to end this spate of antisocial behaviour once and for all.”

Council workers removed up to ten benches from a community park on Stenhouse Drive earlier this week after teenagers destroyed swings and damaged other equipment in the children’s play area.

Community council chair Anne Paterson believes the youths are damaging the reputation of the area.

She said: “This is a great area to grow up in, a great area for families but it’s being marred by the actions of these youths. Every time the police come along, they scarper, but as soon as the police leave, they’re back again.”

Chief Inspector Helen Harrison, Police Scotland’s local area commander for south-west Edinburgh, said: “Officers in Saughton are fully aware of ongoing antisocial behaviour and addressing this matter is a top priority for local policing teams.

“I would like to reassure communities that we continue to dedicate resources to dealing with antisocial behaviour in all its forms and those areas most adversely affected by youth disorder are subject to regular patrols to deter criminal activity and appropriately deal with any issues that arise.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com