a TEAM of police officers specialising in antisocial behaviour have been brought in to a Midlothian village after a spate of attacks by a teenage gang.
Residents of Bonnyrigg say they have been left terrified by the attacks on people using a popular walkway.
The Community Action Teams – two teams of six police officers each, funded by Midlothian Council – have been asked to step in and try and stop the attacks.
One of the victims was a 63-year-old man, who said he had been targeted as he walked his dog on the old railway line opposite the Waverley Hotel on September 9.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: “I was accosted by this mob – a gang of around seven or eight – who started giving me abuse. A couple of them got into my face and then one came up from behind.
“Next thing I felt a blow to my leg and someone stamped on my ankle. I knew straight away it was broken, because it was flapping about.
“They then started booting and kicking me. I couldn’t believe what was going on. Luckily a neighbour started shouting and they backed off.”
The man was taken to the ERI by ambulance, undergoing surgery to put a metal pin in his leg, and spending a week in hospital before being released on crutches.
He said: “Everyone I have spoken to has had a run-in with this crowd. They have been throwing bricks through windows and getting bolder and bolder. The police need to take them off the streets before someone loses their life.”
Another of the reported victims was a teenager who suffers from learning difficulties.
William Amos, 17, was attacked when he took a shortcut along the old railway line to his grandmother’s home, according to his aunt, Rose Findlay.
She said: “A gang of teenage boys punched and kicked him to the ground. He suffered bruised ribs and was taken to hospital.
“The gang is targeting anyone who is walking along the railway line. My mother walks along it and I sometimes take the shortcut myself. Something needs to be done.”
Bonnyrigg councillor Derek Milligan said he had asked the police to take action.
He said: “The youth disorder has been fairly quiet in the area for a while, but just in the last couple of months it seems to have raised its head again.”
A police spokesman said: “We are aware of issues with youth disorder.
“As well as regular patrols, our Community Action Teams are working to identify the youths involved and take action to deter them from gathering in the area.”