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Yobs cause chaos in town centre

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Dumfries and West
Yobs cause chaos in town centre

POLICE are on the hunt for a group of yobs who are causing chaos in Dumfries town centre and intimidating shopkeepers.

Youths have been behind antisocial behaviour in recent weeks in and around the Loreburn Centre, and at other shops and streets nearby.

Shop owners have experienced vandalism and abuse but are too scared to speak out in fear of reprisals, according to one councillor.

Dumfries and Galloway police chiefs have now put an action plan in place to curb the trouble and reassure the public.

Community officers will also be regularly patrolling the town centre, said superintendent Nicola Robison.

Speaking at the council’s police, fire, and rescue sub-committee on Monday, Superintendent Robison said: “We are very mindful it’s a small group of repeat individuals who we will target, and a robust approach will be applied.

“We also have CCTV in the area that’s monitored, so any issues that are picked up certainly are then conveyed to the officers.”

Nith Councillor David Slater raised the matter and shared how he witnessed youths taking items from the Loreburn Centre and throwing them in the town centre fountain.

He told police: “There have been situations with broken windows, and balls being kicked at buses.

“When speaking to business people afterwards, it was quite clear that some of them felt intimidated and didn’t really want to speak about this.

“I wrote to the police about this.”

Councillor Slater then referred to other town centre graffiti and antisocial behaviour incidents, and added: “This is happening quite often, especially in the early evening.

“I would like to see more of a police presence because these youths seem to think they can do as they like, and if anyone says anything to them they basically intimidate them.

“We’re trying to make our High Street busier, and it doesn’t look good for visitors when they are marauding about.”

Superintendent Robison responded: “We have our town centre community police officers, who are regularly patrolling the area.

“I understand they have good, engaging relationships with all the local retailers. I’d encourage any retailers who are having any issues to certainly raise those with local officers who are regularly patrolling.

“In respect of general antisocial behaviour issues in the town centre area, we do recognise that over a number of weeks there have been certain issues – primarily with a small group of youth individuals who are instigating antisocial behaviour in Dumfries town centre.

“We have subsequently put an action plan in place to ensure the safety of the public and officers, and to provide reassurance to the public in that regard.

“We’re also working collaboratively with a number of partners, including youth justice social work, education, and the Scottish Children’s Reporting Agency in order to explore all the prevention opportunities to deter and disrupt this behaviour that’s occurring.”

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