Overnight vandalism rampage slammed as big blow to Selkirk

A spate of vandalism across Selkirk at the weekend has been described as idiotic and a big blow at a time when Souters have otherwise come together.

By Kathryn Wylie
Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 3:50 pm
Councillor Caroline Cochrane alongside a CCTV camera in Selkirk town centre.
Councillor Caroline Cochrane alongside a CCTV camera in Selkirk town centre.

Multiple cars were damaged, planters broken, a noticeboard smashed and shop doors tested in the early hours of Sunday, April 12.

That’s being described as a huge blow for a town which has seen a surge in community spirit in recent weeks, with hundreds volunteering through its resilience group within days of the Covid-19 lockdown coming into force almost four weeks ago.

In Ettrick Terrace, a car belonging to a nurse isolating between shifts at the Five Turrets holiday home had its lights smashed.

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Planters in High Street were also broken and the rugby club’s town centre noticeboard smashed.

Gethin Chamberlain, owner of the Five Turrets and currently offering it free of charge as accommodation for NHS Borders workers, said: “Someone appears to have just gone through the town on a spree.

“I don’t think they have particularly picked out this car. They have decided to attack everything.

“We stopped taking bookings when everyone was talking about shutting. We closed our calender and contacted NHS Borders to say we could take staff in.

“We have one nurse there at the moment and have an NHS Borders sign on our property that her car was parked outside.”

Gethin, who lives across the road from the Ettrick Terrace holiday home, added that other vehicles nearby were also damaged.

The photojournalist added: “A few of the shops caught someone on their CCTV so I’m sure that police have an idea who is responsible.

“They seem to have worked their way around town, and you wonder what people are out at 2am for.

“It’s mindless and it’s antisocial.

“If you see an NHS Borders employee, don’t go kicking them when they’re doing their best. They are doing their jobs and everyone is trying their best.

“The overwhelming majority of people in Selkirk have responded to this crisis in the practical and decent way you’d expect in the Borders.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people have volunteered for the town’s response team and neighbours are checking up on each other, so many people are demonstrating the very best of humanity.

“That shouldn’t be overshadowed by the actions of one idiot.”

Selkirkshire councillor Caroline Cochrane added that businesses such as Tony’s Tower chip shop in Tower Street and Andy Beaton’s greengrocer’s in High Street had also had their doors tried and that more cars parked at the old Sainsbury’s car park and at Hallidays Park were also damaged.

“It seems somebody went on a bit of a rampage, which is sad at this time when things are as they are,” she said.

“It’s horrible to think that this goes on. It’s not pleasant, especially for those being targeted and the likes of Andy, who has been putting in extra hours to keep his grocer’s, stocked and it’s not right.”

The spate of vandalism, she claims, strengthens the case for a new £25,000 closed circuit television system soon to be installed in the town.

“That’s why we need CCTV,” added Ms Cochrane.

“We have got all the funding in place, with £15,000 from the town’s business improvement district scheme and £10,00 from the Selkirk common good fund, and just have a few technicalities to sort.

“All the planning is done. We just need to clarify a few things and get it installed once the lockdown is lifted.

“The fact that we are still seeing vandalism even during a lockdown absolutely strengthens the case for CCTV.”