Eyewitnesses speak of fear after mass Portobello brawl

Teenagers were left with facial injuries after the brawl
Teenagers were left with facial injuries after the brawl
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Eyewitnesses have spoken of their disbelief after a mass brawl in Portobello involving up to 60 youths left two teenagers hospitalised just yards away from a police station.

The fighting broke out at around 4.55pm on Monday in the High Street with two teenagers aged 15 and 17 both being hospitalised after sustaining facial injuries.

Reports suggested one of the victims had been slashed in the face as bottles were thrown as stunned locals were left fleeing the scene.

One woman said: “It was a group of around 60 kids between 13 and 18. Throwing bottles and fighting. One was slashed on the face. The police station is only a part time station, so never open.”

However Police Scotland said the Portobello station was open at the time of the incident with local community officers based there being the first to respond to the disturbance.

The teenagers are said to have fled as officers swarmed the scene with one man counting 21 police cars in attendance.

Despite the heavy response, police claim to not know how many people were involved in the altercation or what caused it as enquiries continued along High Street yesterday.

Officers were scouring CCTV footage from local businesses in an attempt to identify the culprits.

The owner of a nearby business, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I saw about 20 to 25 boys. They were chasing each other and dodging in and out of traffic. Around 10 police cars rushed at the same time at first. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were people going for each other and I believe someone was slashed in the face.

“It is not something you want on the streets. We need more officers on the streets after this.”

Another eyewitness, Jacqueline Ramsay said: “Cars honked horns to divert aggressive teenagers to disperse them. It seemed to help a bit.

“I hope whoever got hurt is okay. The whole lot of them should be arrested. There must be CCTV about.”

Local area commander, chief inspector Kevin McLean, told the Evening News that extra patrols were being deployed in the area as a result of the antisocial behaviour. He also highlighted that Portobello station operates from 8am to 6pm daily.

He added: “Large numbers of local people, visitors and tourists have naturally been attracted to the Portobello area to take advantage of the beach and promenade in the recent spell of good weather. Despite that, this is the only incident of this nature. Anti-social behaviour and violence will not be tolerated and we are deploying all resources at our disposal to the investigation into this disturbance and the subsequent serious assaults.”

One resident said that incidents such as this were becoming “inevitable” as a consequence to Police Scotland cutbacks.

DS Mark Lumsden from the violence reduction unit said: “We are keen to hear from members of the public who were in the High Street area on Monday afternoon and witnessed what happened. Anyone who can help us identify any suspects for this incident should also contact police immediately.”