Edinburgh crime: 14 charged over Bonfire Night chaos in Niddrie, Drylaw, Sighthill and Pilton

Fourteen charged over Bonfire Night chaos in Edinburgh, new report finds

“Truly reckless” bonfire night riots across Edinburgh last year resulted in 14 individuals being charged, according to a new report. City residents were left terrified after gangs of youths hurled bricks, petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails on November 5, resulting in road closures and warnings from police for people to stay at home.

The night of chaos saw incidents in Niddrie, Sighthill, Drylaw and Pilton. Shocking footage shared online showed perpetrators aiming fireworks at response vehicles and passing cars.

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A fire was lit in the street in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh on Bonfire Night 2022 (Dan Barker/PA Wire)

Two Edinburgh police officers were treated for head injuries following the Guy Fawkes Night riots. Similar problems were seen in Dundee and Glasgow.

It was reported at the time that four teenagers had been arrested in relation to the anti-social behaviour but police have now confirmed 14 people have been charged with “various offences including breach of the peace, assault, theft, breach of dispersal order, culpable and reckless conduct and firework related offences”.

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Chief Inspector Neil Wilson, Police Scotland’s divisional commender for north-west Edinburgh, said: “5th November saw a small minority of individuals across Edinburgh engaged in truly reckless behaviour on bonfire night. Inquiries continue apace to bring further offenders to justice and work is ongoing in partnership with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to ensure more serious offences are dealt with at the appropriate level.”

Chief Inspector Wilson said it is anticipated the investigation will be concluded by the end of January and further updates would be given “in due course”. He said: “We are indebted to Edinburgh’s communities for their support and assistance and will continue to work for them and with them, alongside stakeholders, to identify and implement effective interventions to redirect young people towards more positive life choices.”

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Edinburgh City Council said it is now looking at using new powers to clamp down on the sale of fireworks to avoid similar violent attacks breaking out in future. Councillors said bonfire night typically sees a spike in such incidents, 2022 was “worse than usual”.

Legislation passed recently by Holyrood will create licensing schemes for firework sales and only allow them to be sold to the public on specific days of the year such as bonfire night, Hogmanay, Chinese New Year and Diwali. It will allow local authorities to establish ‘control zones’ where setting off fireworks will become illegal unless for a display “of essential purposes”.

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‘Legislation doesn't cover petrol bombs’

However, a Portobello/Craigmillar councillor whose east Edinburgh ward was affected by the riots said the new laws don’t go far enough. Kate Campbell, SNP, said: “Legislation doesn’t cover petrol bombs and petrol bombs were part of the issue.

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“We must, as policy makers, consider how we can create better lives for young people who have lost faith and trust in the system, power structures and authority. I think we have to look more broadly at the route causes and we have a role in doing that alongside the police, alongside criminal justice.

“We need to listen to young people who might have been drawn in to it, we need to make sure any young person who made a mistake is given the opportunity to turn their life around and I think also you can’t get away from the factor that poverty is a part of this.”