Edinburgh radio and panto legend Grant Stott was first police officer to arrive at Guthrie Street blast site

Grant Stott is known to thousands as the Capital's radio and panto legend, but on the morning of October 4 1989, he was a 22-year-old officer with Lothian and Borders police, based at Gayfield Square,  and was first to arrive at the Guthrie Street blast site.

By Iain Pope
Friday, 4th October 2019, 12:45 pm
Updated Friday, 4th October 2019, 2:53 pm
Grant Stott in his days as a young police officer. Pic: Grant Stott.
Grant Stott in his days as a young police officer. Pic: Grant Stott.

He was traveling along Princes street in a patrol car with colleague Paul Baur, an old school pal who had also joined up as a teenager, when news of the explosion came over the radio.

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"A call came over the radio for all traffic cars to head to Guthrie Street, and it was followed by another call quickly after telling all cars to attend.

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"We headed along Princes Street and up The Mound with our blue lights on and dumped the car in the Cowgate.

"The fire brigade were already there but we were the first police to arrive. The scene was just like the photo. It was chaos, a scene of devastation.

"You are trained that if you are the first on the scene to a situation like that you need to log everything in your notebook minute by minute. We then needed to make sure the flats on either side of the blast site were empty so we did as we were told. We were literally running up and down stairs shouting and kicking doors in. Thankfully everybody was out, nobody could have slept through that.

"At that early stage we didn't know who was accounted for, so it was only later the enormity of it really sank in.

"Because we were first at the scene, the protocol was that we would be on the job, taking messages and co-ordinating and connecting with control rooms, until the end of the job. If you were first on it, it was yours, you were last off. As I recall we were there for a good few days.

"I still think about it whenever I drive past the area. It was a remarkable day."