This month I’d like to discuss the upcoming events and celebrations surrounding Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes Night as this often means an increase in antisocial behaviour linked to fireworks and bonfires, writes Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson.
Fireworks, as we all know, can be very impressive and spectacular and are enjoyed by all the family, but they can also be dangerous if used irresponsibly. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to buy fireworks or to be in possession of them in a public place. Despite this every year we receive calls regarding teenagers setting off fireworks to the annoyance of others and I would have to question where they obtain them.
I would therefore ask you not to give or buy teenagers fireworks as you cannot control their use and they may be used in an uncontrolled and dangerous way. I would also warn against buying fireworks from unlicensed sources as this may mean they do not conform to safety standards and may be dangerous to use.
In the run up to Guy Fawkes Night, please be aware and report the building of bonfires to ourselves or Midlothian Council so they can be removed if they are found to pose a danger to people or property.
Another aspect of antisocial behaviour often experienced at this time of the year which might not be as well-known, is the throwing of eggs at people’s houses, windows and cars.
This is often very distressing for those targeted and leaves a mess to clean up which, if not done straight away, can harden or damage car paintwork. I would ask shopkeepers to be wary of selling eggs to teenagers and parents to be aware of the number of eggs in their kitchen.
I don’t want to spoil these events for anyone as firework and bonfire displays can be a great shared community event, but please enjoy them sensibly and safely without spoiling the time for others with inconsiderate behaviour.
Last month there were two incidents where almost 30 vehicles were damaged in Bonnyrigg and Dalkeith causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. A local male has been charged and reported for the crimes in Bonnyrigg and there are positive lines of enquiry for the incidents in Dalkeith. Elsewhere in Midlothian house windows are often smashed and other property damaged in acts of random and mindless behaviour. These kind of incidents can have a significant impact on the victims and lead to fear and isolation. I would urge anyone who may have any information regarding the incidents to contact police on 101 or call the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.