Edinburgh police probe Calton Hill serious sex attack on man, 25, as residents raise concerns over 'gay cruising'

Concerned residents say gay cruising is out of control on Calton Hill amid reports of a second sex attack at the popular landmark in a year.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 6:29 pm

Police said they are investigating a report that a 25-year-old man was the victim of a "serious sexual assault" in an area close to Regent Terrace.

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Major manhunt after Calton Hill sex attack

Men have been spotted brazenly propositioning others in broad daylight while debris has been left scattered on paths.

“It’s really sad to think here we are again. This is a serious backward step,” said residents’ group chair Carol Nimmo, who moved to the area 20 years ago..

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“It’s only come back the last couple of years. It’s a shame and disappointing because it makes you feel quite unsafe.”

Despite getting a lottery grant to develop Calton Hill, residents say the area has been neglected with path lights not working and litter ignored.

“It’s just a lack of maintenance,” said Ms Nimmo. “I know the council is struggling with its budget but you can’t create new tourism sites and not look after them.”

Door-to-Door inquiries

Another nearby resident, who declined to be named, told how police have been going door-to-door following an attack in the early hours last Friday.

She added: “It’s related to the stuff that goes on in Calton Hill after hours. You find used condoms, lube and empty bottles of poppers littered about.”

Detectives cordoned off Calton Hill last October after a man in his 50s was sexually assaulted.

“One of the officers told me there’ve been several serious incidents up there and now there’s talk of potentially having to patrol the hill,” added the resident.

“The only time I’ve seen a likely patrol up there was during talk of potential protests against Trump.”

The US consulate backs on to Calton Hill from Regent Terrace, one of several streets lined with affluent homes surrounding the site.

The resident added: “You hear noises and you see guys parked in their cars, flashing their lights and then they’re off on the hill and come back to drive off.

“There’s activity during the day - there’re guys you see regularly. One must be in his 50s with a little backpack on.

“He hides behind trees approaching men who are obviously looking for some action at lunchtime.”

'There Needs to be Infrared CCTV'

The latest incident has prompted calls from locals for improved security measures.

“That’s a world heritage site up there and yet there are no lights on the hill - that’s the other problem,” said the resident. “So if something goes wrong up there, it’s difficult to access.

“There’s a nice new restaurant up there and people go up there sightseeing and there’s all this going on. It should be safe. There needs to be infrared CCTV at all accesses to the hill.”

Detective Inspector Ross Duthie of the Public Protection Unit said: "Police in Edinburgh are investigating a report that a 25-year-old man was the victim of a serious sexual assault in an area close to Regent Terrace near Calton Hill shortly after 4am on Friday, 11 October.

"Inquiries are ongoing."