Dundee’s Overgate Shopping Centre is struggling to cope with ‘constant malicious and criminal damage’ by gangs of youths.
Staff were physically and verbally abused when trying to eject a group of teens who attacked the main entrance of the shopping centre at around 6pm on Friday.
Manager Malcolm Angus claims youths are consistently taking advantage of what he claims is a ‘gap in policing’ in the city centre between 4pm and 7pm.
He told The Courier that repairs and clean-up costs will run into thousands of pounds.
The Overgate suffered around £80,000 of damage last year, due to “kids running amok”.
Mr Angus is now calling for an urgent meeting with police in a bid to end the “worrying trend” of vandalism, intimidation and physical abuse.
He told The Courier: “On Friday the Overgate was again targeted by youths who proceeded to cause disruption throughout the centre.
“Our security staff were subjected to verbal and physical abuse when they were asked to leave.
“The youths then proceeded to kick in the centre’s main entrance doors, causing yet again thousands of pounds worth of damage.
“Police Scotland attended and took statements and we understand are due to visit again on Wednesday to look at CCTV.
“Our collective concern within Overgate is for the safety of our staff and customers.
“Overgate’s Control Room called 999 at around 6.30pm and Police Scotland attended at around 7.45pm.
Overgate ‘cannot sustain this level of constant malicious and criminal damage’
“As has been highlighted previously, Overgate is investing millions into the city centre.
“However, the centre cannot sustain this level of constant malicious and criminal damage.”
“As the local youths are aware of the current policing rota within the city centre we are keen to understand what steps are being taken to fill this 4pm-7pm gap in policing,” Mr Angus added.
“We are more than willing to arrange a meeting with all city centre stakeholders involved to try and combat this worrying trend.”
Police reject claims that there are fewer operational officers at certain times
However, Police Scotland has rejected claims that there less operational officers on duty in Dundee city centre during that time.
Inspector Lucy Cameron said: “Around 6pm on Friday we were made aware of the Overgate Shopping Centre in Dundee having been vandalised.
“Enquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible.
“As with all calls we receive, the incident was assessed and graded appropriately.
“There was no immediate threat to life or risk of harm.”
Earlier this year Mr Angus controversially claimed that youths from outlying areas were using free bus passes to visit the city centre to cause mayhem.
Billionaire tycoon and former Newcastle United Football Club owner, Mike Ashley, bought the Overgate in March.