City begins crime blitz in Pilton

Unruly youths have been 'running amok' in Pilton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Unruly youths have been 'running amok' in Pilton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A CRIME blitz on unruly youths in Pilton is being launched by city leaders accused of standing by and letting the neighbourhood descend into anarchy.

Despite soaring levels of thefts, joyriding and claims gangs are “running amok” in the community, the city has failed to evict a single council tenant for antisocial behaviour in the last three years.

It has emerged that a high-level “gold command” summit – spearheaded by city chief executive Sue Bruce – has been held with senior police following the stabbing of takeaway owner Jie Yu last week as part of moves to draw up an action plan to curb the disorder.

Since July, figures for Pilton show that 55 motorbikes have been stolen and 24 youths – some as young as 12 – have been arrested for 140 incidents.

Now, city leaders are poised to introduce dramatic new measures to combat the crime wave. These include:

• Accelerating court proceedings to convict the hooligans following talks with the procurator fiscal’s office;

• Diverting to Pilton police officers from across Scotland to beef up street patrols;

• Increasing the number of community safety wardens in the area;

• Taking a “tougher stance” with problem families including the enforcement of evictions.

Today, Councillor Cammy Day, the city’s community safety officer, said “immediate action” would be taken to tackle persistent offending.

“These can include antisocial behaviour orders, acceptable behaviour contracts from Police Scotland and conditions put on youths by the Children’s Reporter,” he said.

“Support is also provided to try and change the behaviour of individuals as eviction is the last resort. But if it is needed we would take that step.”

Police Scotland said they would deploy dog teams, air support and traffic cops to “target those responsible”.

Edinburgh police commander Chief Superintendent Mark Williams said a longer-term plan was being devised to address the “root causes” of the antisocial behaviour.

“I am pressing all partner agencies to use every possible measure to target those responsible and support the community in Pilton,” he said.

West Pilton and West Granton community council secretary Willie Black said he was relieved that an action plan was being put in place.

“For a bit of respite for the community, these young men need to be taken off the streets,” he said. “It’s only a small group but they are creating havoc.”