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Locals in Kirkcaldy community rally against “unruly mob” of youths

Councillor Neil Crooks addresses the public meeting.
Councillor Neil Crooks addresses the public meeting.

Fed-up residents of a Kirkcaldy community blighted by large groups of youths last night rallied against the anti-social behaviour – and called on authorities to do whatever it takes to end their plight.

Locals at a public meeting in Birnam Road highlighted their stories of woe amid reports that scores of youngsters are making their lives a misery.

The spotlight has fallen on the area and surrounding streets after a sharp rise in complaints thought to coincide with the schools returning, with many teenagers said to be coming from far and wide to gather in the streets – particularly at weekends.

And with local councillors, police and other agencies pledging to tackle the situation in the face of criticism, the message from all concerned went out loud and clear: enough is enough.

Councillor Neil Crooks, one of the organisers of last night’s public meeting, said: “This is not an area that is going to sit back and let an unruly mob ruin their community.

“These problems don’t get resolved in days or weeks. It takes time. But we need to do something to get at the core of this problem.”

Kirkcaldy High School rector Derek Allan said a fair proportion of the troublemakers were drinking and taking drugs, and added that intelligence suggested the culprits may move to Dunnikier Park this weekend.

He also highlighted the key role parents have to play as well.

Mr Allan revealed: “One of the issues is that quite a lot of kids are telling their parents they are at a sleepover and they aren’t – they are hanging about the streets and some of them have stayed out all night.

“I urge all parents and carers to know where their kids are and not necessarily believe they are staying over with friends.

“It’s a complex problem but if we all work together, I’m sure we can do something about it.”

Various solutions were put forward by members of the public, ranging from the use of live CCTV and more youth workers to the naming and shaming of culprits, with one man even suggesting a “short, sharp shock” of locking ringleaders up.

Many said they had phoned 101 but were extremely dissatisfied with the lack of response.

Mr Crooks added: “These calls are going to Bilston Glen and the sort of questions people were getting asked were: ‘Do they have a knife? Have they got a gun?’ That reaction is pretty disappointing.”

Another told how her son was tripped up by a gang of girls, breaking a bone in his hand, while another suggested a boy as young as four was carrying drugs in the area for his mother on a bike.

One audience member said: “It’s like a cancer and it’s getting worse.

“We need to come down hard on these youngsters now before someone is killed.”

Sergeant Jimmy Adamson reassured residents that regular patrols are being carried out, the mobile CCTV van has been utilised, and officers on horseback were deployed last week.

A Domehawk camera is also due to be used in the area next week.

He added: “Anti-social behaviour can bring misery to a community and we are determined to tackle this issue wherever we find it.”

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