Provost slams cops’ club report

A POLICE report has been accused of portraying a miners’ club “as though it’s in the middle of Tripoli”.

Midlothian provost Adam Montgomery rubbished a Lothian and Borders Police report on the Dalkeith Miners’ Club that highlighted 29 incidents in which officers had to be called in.

The controversial Labour provost insisted many of the incidents were not the fault of the club and said the report cast it in an unfair light.

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At this week’s licensing board committee meeting, Inspector Gordon Hunter said the Dalkeith Miners’ Welfare Society and Social Club had “exercised poor management and control”.

He added: “This is a catalogue of incidents that goes on and on. The level of disorder is within the bounds of any nightclub you would see in a city centre.”

However, Mr Montgomery told the committee: “I don’t think this list is a fair reflection on that and it looks as though it’s a pub in the middle of Tripoli.”

He advocated no further action be taken against the club.

The committee also heard from club chairman Gregor Hutchison, who said many of the incidents had been a result of volunteers trying to prevent drunk youths from entering the club. Mr Montgomery’s comments have sparked anger among opposition councillors.

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Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie described the comments as “totally inappropriate”.

He said: “The provost has been quite glib in dealing with this matter. If the police get called to an incident at a licensed premises, that’s pretty serious, and I understand there are occasions when ambulances have had to be called.”

Councillor Owen Thompson, the SNP group leader on the council, added: “Comparing a miners’ club to Tripoli is pretty ill-advised, given what people in that city are facing. It’s a pretty poor judgement.”

Mr Montgomery told the Evening News that he stood by his comments. He said: “Just to clarify, I meant if you read this police report you’d think the club’s in the middle of Tripoli. The police are not always right.”

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Last year, the Evening News revealed how Mr Montgomery racked up a £60 mileage claim to purchase a £890 Kilmarnock FC kilt from McCallum Highland Wear. Both costs were met by the taxpayer.