Edinburgh crime: Morningside hit by spate of anti-social behaviour as youths go "looking for trouble"

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Numerous businesses in Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place complain of youths ‘looking for trouble’

Edinburgh’s Morningside area has been hit by a spate of anti-social behaviour, with youths abusing people in the streets and walking into shops “looking for trouble”.

Morningside Tory councillor Marie-Clair Munro said the problem, which also saw cars vandalised, had been going on for some time. But last week numerous businesses around Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place told Cllr Munro of a couple of youths going into their premises, being rude to staff and “looking for trouble”, going behind the counter, making inappropriate comments and sometimes making threats. Staff were said to feel threatened and intimidated.

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Cllr Munro said: "I am being swamped by emails and messages from residents and businesses regarding anti-social behaviour, vandalism and theft. There have been cars vandalised in Balcarres Street, locals being verbally abused in the streets and at bus stops, along with residents being asked by young people to buy alcohol and vapes for them.

Shops and other businesses in Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place were targeted in a spate of anti-social behaviour.  Picture: Craig Stephen.Shops and other businesses in Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place were targeted in a spate of anti-social behaviour.  Picture: Craig Stephen.
Shops and other businesses in Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place were targeted in a spate of anti-social behaviour. Picture: Craig Stephen.

“This has been going on for weeks. There are groups working the area, terrorising residents and local businesses. Many retailers in the ward have experienced anti-social behaviour. We have seen a rise in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour, loitering outside shops, vandalism, graffiti, intimidation and verbal abuse.

"Anti-social behaviour must be taken seriously as these incidents have a negative impact on the area and this behaviour can escalate, making shop workers and customers feel unsafe and threatened. I am working with local businesses and the police on this deeply troubling issue. This behaviour is not acceptable anywhere in the city, but it is having a serious negative impact on the area I represent and the welfare of shop workers and customers.”

Robbie Park, who owns a restaurant in the area, said he had been keeping his eyes open for the youths after CCTV images was posted in a local businesses’ chat group, saying the pair had been causing trouble in the area since the previous week.

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"I was having a meeting with one of my suppliers when the two boys from the CCTV image walked in. They were about 16 or 17. They were mouthy, wandering around, looking at other tables, then went and sat on a table. I went over and said ‘Right lads, enough’s enough, time to go.’ They started saying ‘Who the f*** are you?’ and ‘You can’t touch us’.

"One was holding an aerosol can and the other kept saying ‘Go on, do it’. They were just being horrible, causing fear and alarm. Once we managed to get them out, it turned out the aerosol was only silly string, but it could have been anything – a pepper spray, spray paint, who knows what.

“If they were just the run of the mill local clowns who cause a wee bit of trouble but take a telling, fine. But this seemed to be a bit higher level – intent on causing proper fear and alarm. We would love to see more police on the streets, but it’s not always possible.”

Community Inspector Scott Casey of Police Scotland said: “We are aware of a number of incidents in recent days of antisocial behaviour in the Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place area.

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“We are carrying our enquiries to identify those involved and we’re working closely with our partner agencies to address these issues. Our patrols continue with officers providing reassurance to the local community as well as engaging with young people to discourage this type of behaviour.

“We are committed to supporting the local community and will take the appropriate action when incidents are reported and offenders identified. Anyone who witnesses any incidents is encouraged to contact police by calling 101 as promptly as possible.”