Boy, 15, charged over vandalism of Lothian buses and taxi in south east Edinburgh
A 15-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the vandalism of buses and a taxi in the south east of the city.
It comes after eight buses serving the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary were targeted by vandals on Monday night in the Old Dalkeith Road or Gilmerton Road areas, which resulted in the removal of services.
Lothian Buses announced that all bus services across Edinburgh would be suspended after 7.30pm on Wednesday night. This applies to evening services only - night bus services are expected to operate as normal.
Buses are expected to return as scheduled on Thursday but will be kept under review, with services diverted away from any area targeted by further attacks until safe to return.
Police confirmed this afternoon that a 15-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the recent vandalism incidents and will be reported to the youth assessor. The investigation into the activity remains ongoing.
Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, local area commander for north west Edinburgh, said: “We will continue our efforts to keep our communities, Lothian Buses staff and all motorists safe, through a proactive and coordinated approach, alongside working closely with our partners. Officers continue to investigate these completely unacceptable and senseless incidents to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions.
"I reiterate our request for the support of parents, guardians and the wider public in tackling this behaviour. If you see this behaviour, or congregations at bus stops causing a disturbance, please contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency."
Earlier today Sarah Boyd, Lothian’s operations director, said driver and customer safety is their “absolute priority” and that it is with deep regret that they would have to pull services across the city, particularly as many key workers depend on them.
Union chiefs and Edinburgh City Council’s transport convener, Lesley Macinnes, backed the move and said it sent a clear message that the criminal targeting of a vital public service will not be tolerated.
Scottish Labour transport spokesperson, Alex Rowley, said it was unclear how long this situation will continue and called for suitable alternatives in place for key workers who rely on the transport to get home.
Mr Rowley also urged the Scottish government’s transport and justice secretaries to work with the authorities and the bus company to find a way to get these services back and running in a safe manner, adding: “We must not – under any circumstances – give in to thugs.”
Last weekend, Lothian suspended evening services in Clermiston following the assault of a bus driver in the Drum Brae Drive area. Police later confirmed that a 14-year-old boy was charged in connection with the assault.
Other incidents have included a bus driver being injured in Niddrie when the front window was smashed.
On Tuesday, one Lothian employee told the Edinburgh Evening News that drivers are “genuinely scared” about driving at night just now as it is happening on “almost a nightly basis.”
The employee fears there is potential for rolling closures of ‘no go’ areas across the city as the scale and frequency of vandalism is something “we have never seen before.”