Fears voiced that burglaries are on rise in Hawick

Watson McAteer outside Hawick Police Station
Watson McAteer outside Hawick Police Station

Fears are being voiced that burglars from further afield could be targeting Hawick.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer, a former police chief, raised the issue at this month’s Hawick Community Council meeting.

Constable Stephen Gibson, giving a report to members on behalf of the town’s Wilton Hill police station, said: “We have had the break-in at Sunnyhill Road in Hawick, and we have recently also had the one a few weeks earlier at Denholm.

“I can’t say if it is the same people, or if it is a backtrack to 10 or 15 years ago when we had gangs coming from mid-West Lothian coming down and targeting empty houses during the day.”

Thieves broke into a house in Sunnyhill Road at the end of April and stole eight gold rings set with precious stones, 10 brooches, eight necklaces, three watches and a three-figure sum of cash.

That month, firearms were also stolen from a house in Denholm.

Community councillor Greg McLeod cited other recent break-ins such as the theft of a diagnostic machine at Greendale Car Sales at Galalaw Business Park.

Mr McAteer, now the town’s honorary provost, said: “House-breaking is not a ward priority, yet it’s an important crime type, and we have certainly seen it develop.”

Pc Gibson responded: “It’s not us that sets the ward priority, but if we did focus on house-breaking, then we are not focused on road traffic initiatives and drugs and alcohol. We would have to divert our resources.”

Mr McAteer later told the Hawick News that “any rising trend in theft by housebreaking must be regarded as a priority” and that it “reinforces fears about the lack of available police officers” in the town.