Mill owner thanks Hawick News after police rethink

Sybil Gentleman
Sybil Gentleman

Retired mill owner Sybil Gentleman praised the Hawick News this week after police performed a U-turn over youths who she alleges broke into her factory, writes Colin Purvis.

During the break-in, dozens of striplights were smashed, mannequins were slashed and garments were strewn around before thousands of buttons and labels were emptied from their boxes. A number of expensive suitcases were also destroyed by vandals.

Speaking to the Hawick News inside the former factory on Monday, she said: “I just can’t believe that the police can’t charge those responsible. They have said it is because they are too young. But surely that can’t be right?”

Police Scotland’s communications centre in Edinburgh responded to our initial questions by saying: “Police in Hawick received a report of two youths exiting a disused factory in Green Lane on 22nd July and detained the pair in connection with vandalism and theft. Following further inquiry, it was established that there was no evidence to link either individual to these offences and they were released without charge.

But less than an hour later in an email from a local officer, we were told: “I am aware that you have been in touch with Media Edinburgh regarding the above incident. I am also aware that you have been sent some information on the subject. Can I add that a report is being submitted to the procurator fiscal regarding two 16-year-old youths from Hawick being responsible for the damage.”

Police also visited Mr Gentleman on Thursday to inform her of the change of heart.

A short time later she telephoned the Hawick News saying: “Thank you for coming to see me this week it was a great help. These people are going to be charged now. It is a huge relief.”