Surge in village crime

4th July 2014, Edinburgh,UK, Police incident on Princes Street causing delays to the trams. Credit Steven Scott Taylor.

4th July 2014, Edinburgh,UK, Police incident on Princes Street causing delays to the trams. Credit Steven Scott Taylor.

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Police have stepped up patrols after a surge in thefts, vandalism and wilful fire-raising at two villages.

Residents in Chryston and Moodiesburn have been the victims of anti-social behaviour by youths over the past few months.

Police said incidents of wilful fire-raising has been of particular concern. A wooden bridge at Moodiesburn Glen had to be torn down after being repeatedly torched by vandals and wheelie bins have also been targeted.

Around 40 officers in uniform and plain clothes were out in force on the evening of Friday, April 29 to patrol the area.

A number of arrests were made and alcohol confiscated from underage drinkers, and a teenager was also reported in connection with a drugs offence .

A police spokesperson said: “There has been a marked increase in anti-social behaviour in the area which is entirely unacceptable.”

Around 40 officers in uniform and plain clothes were out in force for an evening of action on Friday, April 29.

The officer added: “A mobile police office attended at Mahon Court and local youngsters from the Police Scotland Youth Volunteer programme carried out a leaflet drop giving safety advice.

“The young people also assisted in distributing chains and locks provided by the fire and rescue Service for securing wheelie bins.”

The operation was also supported by the local authority anti-social behaviour team who engaged with local residents and youths as well as attending incidents and identifying areas where enforcement action may be taken to bring improvements.

Visits were also carried out at licensed premises and searches carried out to arrest offenders wanted on warrant.

The officer said: “The purpose of the policing operation was to provide a visible police presence and reduce misbehaviour by youngsters in the area.

“It was not intended as an enforcement exercise but, nevertheless, some action had to be taken.

“A number of under 16’s were taken home and charged, and some older offenders were issued with a fixed penalty fine.”

“Perhaps the most worrying incident was a 14-year-old boy allegedly dealing drugs outside the Pivot Centre.

“Everybody dealt with formally or informally by officers were local to the area.

“The crime and disorder in the community is being caused by young people from the community and policing enforcement cannot cure the existing problem on its own.

“It is important that parents are aware what their children are up to when out and about in the evenings.

“There are videos on Youtube. These are all on open sites and I’m quite sure parents would, and should, be shocked at some of the scenes. “There are groups of youngsters causing anger, distress and cost to fellow residents. They face the prospect of being arrested, charged and convicted.

“I know that the majority of these young people will grow up to be well behaved and law abiding citizens and it will be a pity if they fall into the criminal justice system with all the lifelong consequences that can entail.

“A 15-year-old caught with a small amount of cannabis will be permanently excluded from a wide range of occupations.

“Simply being charged with stealing a wheelie bin, even if those charges are dropped, means many countries outside the EU will restrict or prevent entry.

“Where an individual persists in acts of disorder there are powers available to the local authority to take action in the civil courts and this includes actions against the parents of a child.”