'Help the police' plea over under-siege Edinburgh district as residents plan to flee outbreak of violence
A string of violent and disturbing incidents – involving armed youths on motorbikes and attacks which forced Lothian Buses to halt weekend services – prompted Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine to speak out.
One family may even quit their home after finding a knife stashed in their garden and receiving threats from a gang of youths.
The weekend saw a massive increase in anti-social behaviour and broad daylight violence, with a number of clashes between rival groups.
It culminated in one gang – on illegal off-road motorbikes – rampaging through streets and gardens wielding baseball bats. The thugs could not be identified because they were wearing balaclavas or full face masks.
Lothian Buses bosses pulled its service to Clermiston over the weekend after an assault on one if its drivers on Friday evening, stating there had “a significant increase in incidents of anti-social behaviour”. The services recommenced on Monday after Police Scotland – which has launched Operation Proust to thwart the thugs – stepped-up patrols.
So far, there have been two arrests in connection with the violence, which sparked a response from Ms Jardine who called on locals to back Police Scotland and restore peace to the area – after a spate of similar of incidents last year.
The Edinburgh West MP said: “I am deeply concerned that the situation in Clermiston has escalated since we were originally in touch with the police after a number of residents contacted me at Christmas.
“At that time I was pleased to hear that officers were aware and addressing problems as they arose.
“I feel it is important that residents continue to report any incidents direct to the police.”
She added: “This is a particularly difficult time for everyone and we are all trying to make the most of a very changed environment and lifestyle. If there is anything I can do to help the police and other authorities to deal with this, or other situation, I am happy to help.”
Locals fear that only a massive police presence will halt the thuggery which is affecting people living in Clermiston and also Drumbrae.
A resident who was too afraid to be named found a blade in their garden and said they had been threatened by groups of yobs.
They said: “We bought a relative's property a number of years ago as we wanted to keep our fond memories in the family.
“But we are at our wits end. I do not want to have to sell our house but nothing is getting done about these gangs of youths who seem to have no respect for anything.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, Local Area Commander for North West Edinburgh, said: “This type of mindless, irresponsible and reckless criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in our community and there will be additional patrols in the area.
“We are aware of ongoing issues with antisocial behaviour which is completely unacceptable, particularly in the midst of a pandemic when people are being told to stay at home. Local officers are working with partners to address these issues and proactively put a stop to this.”
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