Gangs create havoc in Selkirk centre

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Marauding youngsters are making Selkirk’s town centre a no-go area after dark for elderly residents.

The town’s community council heard on Monday night’s meeting that a group of youths, aged between 12 and 15, are leaving piles of litter on the streets, shouting and swearing at passers-by and generally creating havoc at all hours of the night and into the morning.

Shopkeeper Janice Rodgerson brought the matter up with community police officer Conal McEwan after his presentation to the community council at the town’s Victoria Halls and brandished a bag full of rubbish and empty bottles that she picked up from the courthouse steps.

She said: “It is becoming intolerable. It’s happening every night, not just at weekends.

“If you say anything to them, you just get foul language and abuse in return.

“One of them was running around in just his underpants.

“I have phoned the police on three occasions. Nobody seems to be able to do anything, and they seem to realise this.

“There are people I know who just won’t go outside.

“We would never dream of acting like that when we were young.”

Making matters worse, gangs of youths are now coming over from Hawick and Galashiels, which PC McEwan said was “not a good mix”.

He said that as well as the High Street, the gangs were congregating in the grounds of the Haining and at the Chinese Hut on Selkirk Hill, where they smash bottles.

PC McEwan said he was aware of the problem and that he had talked to the group several times, but he added: “I have had a word with Graham Marshall at the high school, and between us we are going to try to sort something out. It won’t be a quick fix.

“Behaviour is something that has to be learned.”

And he cautioned: “We have a group of kids who are causing a bit of a headache at the moment, but let’s not demonise all the kids.

“Every generation comes along and has that moment of madness, and we have to try to work through it as a community.”

Community council chairman Alistair Patullo said: “Would it be possible to speak to their parents?”

PC McEwan replied: “I would need to catch them doing something anti-social, and that is not easy as they stop whatever they are doing when I come along.”