A packed public meeting was held last week in Mayfield to discuss local fears about a recent increase in anti-social behaviour in the area.
Those in attendance heard shocking reports of kids as young as nine running riot in the community, with girls involved as much as boys in attacks on local people, organisations and businesses.
The meeting was called by Mayfield and Easthouses Community Council in response to local fears about the issue. The group’s chairman Robert Hogg said: “It went very well. The hall was packed – there were over 100 people there. It just shows the community cares which is great.
“In the last three weeks or so there has been an upsurge in anti-social behaviour. The kids are as young as nine, up to 14/15.
“We spoke to some of the older teenagers. They are embarrassed by what the younger ones are doing. There has been an element from outside the area but there are local kids involved too, and also the girls are as bad as the boys.
“We felt it was important to call this meeting. The community is up in arms and want something done about it.
“To be fair to the police we have seen an extra presence and hopefully the kids will take heed of that. It’s an on-going process.
“The priority is to get anti-social behaviour down and get back to some normality. This raises its ugly head in any community from time to time. It affects the community. Local businesses have suffered as people are scared to come down to the shops in the dark.”
Veronica Gray’s 14-year-old daughter Tiegan was attacked by a gang of youths at a bus stop on Bogwood Road at 5.55pm on November 10,.
She was taken to hospital with concussion and injuries to her head, ankle and hand.
Veronica said: “They are just completely wild. I’m worried. Obviously it’s winter so it’s getting dark at five o’clock. Because Tiegan goes to school in Edinburgh she has to come back on the bus so I’m really paranoid about that.”
Police said a 15-year-old girl has been charged and are following a positive line of enquiry on other suspects.
Carol Flack, project manager at the Mayfield Y2K youth project came across an example of the problem immediately after the public meeting, when a gang of youths descended on the Y2K. She said: “A couple of them came in one door, others through the back and one through a window.
“Unfortunately one of our P7 kids was assaulted by a 13-year-old in our garden. This is just what the community is talking about, a gang of young people running amok.”
It was revealed at the meeting that 35 per cent of calls to the police from Mayfield are related to the local Scotmid. A Scotmid spokesman said: “The last four weeks has seen a spike in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents at our Mayfield store and this is an issue we are determined to address as quickly as possible.”
Midlothian Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson said: “We recognise the spike in anti-social behaviour and disorder in the Mayfield area and accordingly there will be an increased police presence over the coming weeks.
“In an effort to try to tackle this issue I would appeal for members of the community to assist my officers with information and any parents and guardians of anyone involved to take responsibilty for their kids. Make sure they know where their sons or daughters are going.
“The vast majority of youths are law abiding, it’s a small cohort of individuals involved in this.”