A SEXUAL attack on a woman in the notorious Telfer Subway has led to renewed calls for CCTV to be installed.
The attack, which has been linked to another sexual assault in the area, came just months after the city council said it did not have enough money to install CCTV cameras in the subway.
Now local residents and politicians are calling for a re-think on installing cameras, after police confirmed they were investigating the two cases.
The first involved a 22-year-old woman who was left in a state of “fear and alarm” when a man made an obscene sexual gesture towards her at around 5am on Saturday within Telfer Subway, which links Dalry with Fountainbridge.
It is understood police believe the same man sexually assaulted a woman on the steps of Lidl car park on Dalry Road last Tuesday by grabbing her breast before she pushed him away.
Investigating officer Pc Sam Gillies said: “There is a sexual element to these crimes. It’s very important for us to trace this man and we are making every effort to do so.”
“We would advise that people look after themselves in any circumstances and are aware of what’s going on around them.”
A campaign for improved security measures at Telfer Subway was last year launched by Lothians MSP Sarah Boyack after a number of serious incidents took place in the underpass.
In 2009, a woman was subjected to an seven-hour sex attack after being dragged from the subway to a makeshift den nearby. Polish cousins Michal Marchlewski, 21, and Tomasz Kryczyk, 26, were later arrested for the crime. Marchlewski was sentenced to ten years in jail. Kryczyk hanged himself in prison while awaiting trial.
But in December, the city council said additional CCTV would not be installed because at £25,000 per camera, there were no funds available.
Call centre agent and Dalry resident Kim McDonagh, 27, said: “What are the council are waiting for, someone to be killed?
“I don’t like walking through there myself, especially as I’m pregnant – women are aware of how bad it is and they avoid it.”
Ms Boyack, who said the incidents strengthened the case for additional CCTV, said: “It is unacceptable for there to be yet another incident here.
“The last council administration didn’t act and I’ll now be calling on the new council leadership to take a fresh look at the need for modest investment to make the subway safer.”
The council’s Community Safety leader, Cammy Day, said: “Criminal incidents like these are taken very seriously by the council.
“In the past nine months a number of community safety measures have been put in place in the subway and surrounding area to improve safety.”
The safety measures included improved lighting in routes from Orwell Terrace, Dundee Street and from the westerly play park and bus stop route, new white light bulbs installed in the underpass itself, increased CCTV signage for two nearby council open space cameras and cutting back shrubbery and vegetation in the area.
The suspect in the latest incidents is described as being male, white, between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 10ins in height, of medium build, wearing a black hooded top with distinctive red patches on the sleeves and hood and dark jogging trousers. He is thought to be aged between 20 and 30 with dark brown messy hair.
Anyone with information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131-311 3131.
Telfer Subway has become notorious for serious crimes in recent years.
In 2009, a 24-year-old Australian woman was attacked as she walked through the subway from the Fountainpark leisure complex and taken to a makeshift den among trees and bushes just a few feet away where she was subjected to a horrific seven-hour rape ordeal.
In November last year, a teenage girl was pinned against a wall just feet from the subway as a group of three men punched and kicked her boyfriend unconscious and stole an iPhone.
A spate of knife attacks took place the previous month, including a 21-year-old man who was threatened at kinfepoint.