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Policing plea

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By Andrew Goss
Annan and Eskdale
Policing plea

A CALL for more police patrols in the centre of Annan to curb vandalism and fire-raising has been made by a local politician.

Annandale South Councillor Sean Marshall made the plea following a ‘whole list’ of vandalism of the Victoria Halls/Market Halls public toilets and incidents of anti-social behaviour in recent weeks.

On Wednesday it was discovered that loo roll had been scattered everywhere, water was overflowing onto the floors, toilet roll holders broken and dryers pulled from the wall.

But more concerningly, there has been evidence of attempts of fire-raising, with toilet rolls being set alight and thrown onto the road and also onto a nearby roof.

He said: “I know the ladies toilets were vandalised a couple of days ago. Now it seems to be the gents. It’s very concerning, particularly in light of the recent attack on the nearby library building.

“Then they throw the lit rolls outside and on to the road, and even on to the roof of the Jehovah’s Hall.

“The artwork done by one of the local primary schools has been ripped down and destroyed, and the electric hand dryer has been vandalised.”

He said many public toilets had shut in recent years and these were one of the few still open in the area.

The Annan facility operates from 8 am to 5 pm, seven days a week, and usually the cleaner is in attendance until about 8 pm.

It had been suggested, he added, that the damage to the toilets might be high spirited youngsters.

Cllr Marshall said: “This week’s incidents happened over lunch time, but there have been reports of youngsters being in there during school hours, at around 2.30 pm.”

And he also explained that last Sunday when the cleaner attended at closing time the youths were asked to leave, they did so but proceeded to ‘pound on the door’ and were swearing at the member of staff.

Police Scotland were called to the scene.

Furthermore, Cllr Marshall explained that the lock on the cleaning supplies cupboard has been tampered with and could not be accessed.

He said: “An extra member of staff had to be called in to open the cupboard and repair the lock.”

To tackle the escalating problems, extra patrols from Police Scotland and the community safety team have been requested.

Cllr Marshall said: “The message is that whenever there is vandalism like this, that service is put at risk. And it is not a good reflection on Annan. I would ask people to be more considerate.”
Allan Weild, chairman of Annan Community Council said he was not aware of a recurring issue with the toilets.

He said: “Hopefully it is a one-off; an act of wanton vandalism. It needs to stop.”
Meanwhile, there were reports on social media on Wednesday night of a large group of youths attacking another in Charles Street. They made off when passersby intervened.

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