Police allay fears after ‘riot’ reports

POLICE and youth workers had to be called out following reports of a disturbance involving more than 60 teenagers last Friday night.

Emergency calls were made and several officers sped to the Howegate just before 9.30pm as trouble flared between two large groups of youngsters – with the violence spilling onto the High Street.

The Hawick News understands that a passing motorist had to stop and pull some of the battling youngsters apart, while a number of horrified Beanscene patrons watched on from the coffee house’s window.

The scale of the disorder was highlighted on Facebook just minutes after the incident, with one user posting: “Just saw about 40 12-year-olds scrapping on the High Street.”

This was followed by one mum stating that her son had come home and told her he’d just seen “a riot” involving what looked like around 100 teenagers. Another user added: “I just saw that when I was coming out of the Tower.”

Despite this, police moved to allay fears regarding the seriousness of the situation. “We received a call regarding youths congregating in the Howegate, and that there were two groups in the area,” he said. “Two youngsters had had a disagreement and apparently squared up to each other, and there had been a large group around them, but when officers arrived there were youth workers on the scene and nothing ongoing.”

He added: “Youngsters have congregated in the Howegate for years, and if it looks like there’s going to be fight that is always going to attract a big group of young people. I don’t want to play anything down, but maybe it looked worse than it was.”

This sentiment was shared by Escape Youth Cafe project manager Sian Anderson, who she confirmed that youth workers doing their rounds saw the gang of between 50 to 60 youngsters on the High Street as they approached the town hall – and were involved in trying to calm a tense situation.

“A few young people known to the staff approached them and said there had been a fight in the Howegate area involving two to three young people,” she stated.

“The staff were then about to call the police when they appeared on the scene.”

Miss Anderson says that after officers had spoken to both the young people and staff, the crowd quickly dispersed.

She added: “This is the first night in months that we have come across any issues.”

Police were also called to a fight involving two teenage girls outside Teviotdale Leisure Centre last Friday night.