Locals watch neighbourhood

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A MIDLOTHIAN village is coming together to fight back against crime.

In view of recent incidents in the area, a group of people from Gorebridge met up with local officials and police last week to form their own neighbourhood watch scheme.

The move comes after a group of concerned residents from Main Street and the surrounding area took their concerns about local Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and a rise in crime to last month’s Gorebridge Community Council meeting.

They said there had been an increase in incidents of vandalism, theft, public nuisance and anti-social behaviour, which tied-in with a recent growth of HMOs in Gorebridge.

Councillor Bryan Pottinger (Lab), pictured, attended the formation of the neighbourhood watch group.

He said: “I was glad to attend the meeting. It was well attended, by a well-informed audience.

“They were clued-up on the benefits and how it would work and improve the safety factor in their own community.

“I welcome the residents of the Main Street being organised. They fully know the implications and benefits of being in a neighbourhood watch scheme.

“The main thing is that they are coming together to tackle issues, such as anti-social behaviour.

“Community policeman Blair Watson gave them good information and good direction on becoming an official established neighbourhood watch area.”

Councillor Pottinger was quick to play down the link between the new group and the HMOs, turning instead to another concern for the community.

He said: “It’s not really a bad area, but there can be pockets within it that can be quite bad.

“One of the issues raised at the meeting was to improve lighting in the area. There was that and issues like it that will be taken forward positively.”

The councillor for Midlothian South also offered his support and knowledge to the new group.

Councillor Pottinger said: “I have a lot of experience on this kind of thing with the crime prevention panel, which brought through neighbourhood Watch in the Midlothian area.

“I’m available to work with them in the future but it wont be long before they can do it all themselves.

“My experience can help them if they ever want it.”

The newly formed Gorebridge Neighbourhood Watch Scheme chose not to comment at this time.