DEMANDS are being made to increase the police presence in Gretna after bus services to the town were restricted due to continued anti social behaviour.
On Tuesday Stagecoach expressed concern about escalating anti-social behaviour locally and the subsequent danger to their drivers.
As a result, services will not stop at Central Avenue or anywhere else in the town centre after 7 pm until Tuesday, November 1.
Previously, this restriction was only in place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but persistent issues mean it has now been expanded.
Tom Waterhouse, operations director for Stagecoach Cumbria, said: “Following our recent decision to stop serving Gretna Central Avenue, disappointingly, we have continued to experience issues at other stops in Gretna and on other nights throughout the week.
“As a result of this, we have reluctantly taken the decision to further the curtailment of our services through Gretna.
“Therefore, from October 25, for a period of seven days we will not serve any stops in Gretna after 7 pm, other than Gretna Gateway and Annan Road (near to Braids Caravan Park).
“We’re sorry that we have had to put this measure in place due to the behaviour of a small group of individuals.
“Any customers wishing to board or alight after 7 pm, can do so at either Gretna Gateway or at the Annan Road stop.
“This decision has only been taken due to the persistent issues we have been experiencing with individuals jeopardising the safety of themselves, and others by tampering with operational elements of our vehicles.
“We are left with no other option than to stop serving these stops at the times stated above.”
Gretna and Rigg Community Council have now called upon Police Scotland to increase patrols locally, citing a recent study showing how much the community want it.
They said: “For some time, Gretna residents have experienced an increase in anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
“This has become evident in police reports which are shared at our community council meetings, contributions from the public forum which is part of our monthly meetings, the media and social networks.
“Residents now face the reality that Stagecoach have decided not to serve the stops at Central Avenue because of incidents which pose a risk to the health and well-being of drivers and passengers.
“One of the questions in a recent survey which GRCC conducted online has established the priorities of Gretna residents, and the response showed that police presence was the first choice of most residents in the town.
“To this end, we are asking for your support in increasing police presence in Gretna and considering the return of permanent police station in Gretna.
“The facilities in the Richard Greenhow Centre allow for central location. Alternatively, Gretna has a fire station which could be considered to provide accommodation for police officers.”