Burnfoot vandal attacks raise residents’ fears

RESIDENTS in Burnhead Road are living in fear.

And police this week revealed they were looking to step up patrols in that area of Burnfoot.

Rocks, eggs and even road signs are being thrown at windows on the street, which is home to numerous elderly pensioners.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “There’s a lot of old people in Burnhead Road and they’re scared. The whole place is struggling. There’s things getting done to them and they’re too afraid to say anything.”

Community beat officer Steven Sutherland told a meeting of Burnfoot Community Council this week that there had been 26 incidents of vandalism on the estate over the last month, 17 of which were caused in Burnhead Road last week, where cars and property were spray-painted.

Police have since charged a 16-year-old with that particular incident and a report is being sent to the procurator fiscal, while a 14-year-old youth has also been charged.

But Mr Sutherland admitted the area was giving cause for concern.

He said: “We have people in that street in their 80s who are genuinely scared. They would rather sit and shut their curtains and suffer in silence.”

He added: “The bottom line is we’re trying our hardest to get on top of things and I’ve spoken to every shift sergeant about getting more patrols up there.

“I appreciate there are tensions at Burnhead Road.”

Local councillor Stuart Marshall revealed he had taken four separate calls from residents over the weekend.

He said: “This is a real concern. One lady told me about her car being painted and she’s really anxious as she’s seeing people in Burnhead Road running amok. Residents are extremely concerned. An elderly lady had a brick thrown through her window while she was watching the television. She’s at her wits’ end.

“Nobody wants to spread panic but there are people up there living on their own. There are people who have lived there all their life and they’re talking about being desperate to sell their house.”

It is understood the culprits are both boys and girls, although it was stressed they are very much a minority.

Community council chairman Richard Knight warned against an overreaction to the current issues. He said: “This is not unique to Burnfoot. There’s things happening in other area of the town as well and it’s not just Hawick.

“There’s been a spate up here and it’s been highlighted. There is a problem, but with the police and community working together hopefully we can get people reporting these incidents.”

Tentative discussions took place on Tuesday night about setting up a ‘buddy’ system in the area where those reluctant to call the police can contact someone else and they can do it on their behalf.

It was also emphasised that Crimestoppers (0800 555 111) is a free and completely anonymous service where crimes can be reported to.

Community councillor Jamie Batten said: “This would be a valuable tool for anyone who is maybe afraid of repercussions. It is completely anonymous.”