From young girls urinating on people’s garden paths, to youngsters lying passed out in the middle of roads, to foul mouthed teens sitting on car bonnets, to bevvied up hooligans tossing traffic cones over tall fences without a thought for who may be standing behind them, Fankerton was hit by a wave of drunken behaviour over the Easter weekend which the village has never experienced before.
Even the venue the community was meeting in to talk to police – Fankerton Hut – had suffered vandalism at the hands of the youth mob.
Community police officer Graham Fox and his colleagues were on hand to hear from people who experienced unprecedented levels of disorder in the village between Friday, April 19 and Monday, April 22. PC Fox said: “There was some youth disorder in the area on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and all of these calls were attended by police – unfortunately it was a busy weekend, not helped by the good weather.
“Due to the weather and alcohol there was an exceptionally high demand for police over that weekend and we attended incidents as quickly as we could. There were one or two youths who were taking matters too far and there were other youngsters involved in high jinks.
“On Friday and Saturday night the number of calls from Fankerton was possibly a little low in terms of the incidents we now know about. If you see it going on you have to pick up the phone and call the police – you can’t just rely on your neighbour to do it.
“If there is one call about an incident of youth disorder police may get there in an hour, but if there are 20 calls about the incident you are going to get a quicker police response.”
It was stated some of the youngsters involved in the weekend of trouble may have come from as far away as Stirling, Bannockburn and Falkirk.
Police officers assured residents they would be stepping up police patrols in the area of Carron Glen, where youths have been going to drink alcohol on warm evenings.
One woman said she met a man who dropped his teenage sons off at the glen and he told her they were just going there for a “drink and a swim”.
A resident stated: “The kids are very blatant with their bottles of alcohol.
“There’s lots of older people who live on the Main Street and they should not be terrorised by these youngsters. People should be able to walk in the glen on a nice night and feel safe.”
Another concerned householder said: “From what I’ve seen, this was not the minority doing the damage – it was the majority. I saw one of them who ended up unconscious in the middle of the road.
“These kids went home blitzed and their parents accepted that. The parents are allowing their kids to go out on the drink. I don’t see why I should be scared to go outside. “These youngsters shouldn’t be going along knocking stones off people’s walls. I’m frightened and I’m intimidated – there’s no way I can go out and check my car because they’re running up and down the road.
“There were two young people who urinated in front of my car.”
“There were two kids who decided to pee in front of my house,” added another local. “One actually put her can down on my path and lifted it up again when she was finished.” Police stated they had reports adults had been buying alcohol for the youngsters and they were now investigating this, liasing with shop owners and high schools.
There were concerns expressed about the safety of the youngsters themselves, due to their drunken state.
One householder said on one of the nights he saw around 50 youths staggering down the street, all heavily intoxicated.
He added: “The biggest problem is the drink – if you took the drink off them they would go home quietly. You’re going to have drunken kids jumping off the bridge there and they’ll be dead.”
Another resident said: “They were trying doors and raking about in gardens. I’ve had them round the back of my house – I will not have them on my property. What happens when police don’t turn up to deal with them – do you make them a cup of tea?
“I’m going to end up getting charged because if they get in my garden again they will need an ambulance.”
People questioned if police had the manpower to deal with the problem.
One householder said: “If there was a regular patrol on these nights going round the glen that might deter the vandalism.” It was stated the matter had been brought up at Denny High School’s assembly this week and a pupil from the school gave a short speech at Tuesday’s community meeting, trying to convice people not all youngsters were out to cause harm. She also stated some adults had been quite hostile to youngsters.
She said: “We are not all the same – we do respect people and the countryside. How can we have respect for adults when they don’t respect us?”
The meeting ended with police saying this kind of thing did not happen every weekend in Fankerton and on this particular occasion it was the warmest Easter weekend on record and youngsters had just started their study leave, which may have led a lot of them to “let their hair down”.
They advised residents to call police if they had any more concerns and told them they could also install CCTV to their properties.