Businesses in Dalkeith town centre recently hit by youths running riot have given their response to an increased police presence in the area.
Youths caused major trouble in Dalkeith town centre over a two-week period last month, smashing shop windows, vandalising the public toilet, throwing wheelie bins at cars and hurling abuse.
Local taxi driver Stephen Curran spoke to the Advertiser about the problem.
He said: “There is maybe about 12 of them, boys and girls. They were hanging about the taxi rank for 15-20 minutes throwing trolleys about.
“It just seems to be getting worse in Dalkeith recently.”
Ian Hartley, of Drummond Miller solicitors, which had a window at its Dalkeith branch on White Hart Street smashed by youths, admitted that the business may be forced to take drastic action.
He said: “At some stage we are going to need to put shutters on our windows, which is difficult for us as we are an estate agents and want to display our properties at the weekend.
“Unless someone from the police is there all through the night, which they can’t do, if someone decides to throw a piece of rock at the window it’s going to smash.”
He reckoned a high-quality CCTV could be a solution.
“That’s probably a better option than increasing patrols,” he said. “It might be a better deterrent. We are happy to work with the police to do something that helps reduce the chance of this happening again.”
RS McColl at Jarnac Court was also hit. Carol Dixon, who works there, said: “Our window was smashed two nights running. Apparently it was just 12-13-year-olds. I don’t know what they are doing out at around 10pm. They’re just children.
“Last week my colleague said that when she closed up there was a large group of youths outside the shop, but the police were there so there was no trouble. I think maybe it is improving.
“We have had customers telling us about youths banging our doors after we shut at 6pm.
“Shoplifting by the kids is a big problem but because there are groups of four or five at a time, it’s hard to catch them.”