Officers ask for help in operation to target antisocial behaviour

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POLICE have asked residents to keep their eyes peeled for neighbours who own flashy cars beyond their means and have regular short-term visitors as part of an operation to crack down on drugs and antisocial behaviour in communities.

After receiving months of intelligence, officers swooped in on a property in Viewcraig Gardens and one in Dumbiedykes Road to arrest three men suspected of being involved in drugs crimes.

At 10am on Tuesday, officers from Lothian and Borders Safer Neighbourhood Team and CID visited the addresses as part of a larger drive throughout the south and east to tackle deviant behaviour.

Community inspector Alan Bowie, who looks after the south, said: “The jobs were part of our Community Commitment policy. We want to identify local concerns by listening to the problems communities raise and going from there.

“If someone on your street appears to be living outwith their means, you can ask where do they get the money to drive fancy cars, perhaps if they don’t work. How do they fund an extravagant lifestyle? Callers on a regular basis and a procession of people coming to their doors but only staying for minutes may also be a sign.

“We’re looking for honest information rather than malicious ­information.”

He added: “I’d like to stress that we make sure the person [providing information] is protected and point out that people can get in touch with us through Crimestoppers, which is completely anonymous.

“We work in partnership with the council. No one resource can do this on their own. If people are causing misery, there is a remit to deal with these things.”

The latest three arrests followed months of intelligence gathering from residents, businesses and the local community to identify people dealing with drugs.

A 28-year-old man has been arrested and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Cannabis and other drug paraphernalia was also recovered during the searches and a 49-year-old man was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant and charged with an alleged police assault.

Environmental Wardens and Crimestoppers officials joined Community Officers to carry out high-
visibility patrols in the areas.

Officers also identified and arrested a 22-year-old man, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

Detective Inspector Stuart Harkness said: “When Lothian and Borders Police launched Community Commitment in September 2010, we made a promise to listen to the public on the issues that affect them locally and respond accordingly.

“Over the past few months we have received vital information from members of the public and used this to carry out yesterday’s operation.

“Our activity has undoubtedly impacted upon local drug-dealing and sends a clear message to our communities that we will continue to act on any intelligence they provide us with to remove criminals from their area.”