Youths go hi-tech to ‘advertise’ fights

Quarry Park in Brightons has been a hotspot for youth disorder over the past couple of months
Quarry Park in Brightons has been a hotspot for youth disorder over the past couple of months

Gangs of youths from across Falkirk are using social media websites and gadgets to meet up and fight with rivals.

The trouble originated last month at Quarry Park in Brightons where around 80 youngsters, aged between 12 and 16, had gathered to drink alcohol before causing antisocial disturbances.

The gatherings have continued almost every weekend since, but police have stepped up antisocial patrols in The Braes area following a flood of complaints from fed-up residents.

Officers have consulted senior figures at community council meetings in a bid to stamp out the problem, mainly in Brightons, Polmont and the Bog Road areas.

Convenor of Brightons Community Council, Tom Grieve, said: “Several villagers have approached me with concerns about noise and vandalism at the weekends with youths, who are not all unruly.

“There has been up to 50 youths, mostly at Quarry Park, and reports say they have been coming from the local villages.

“There is the fear of the potential to cause harm, especially for older residents.”

Despite a decrease in the number of youths congregating due to the increased patrols, police say they have moved on to other areas and the problem remains a PACT (Police And Communities Together) priority for local officers.

Gangs from the Bog Road and Westquarter areas clashed a week past Saturday after reports of under-age drinking, resulting in a 14-year-old being charged with assault.

Sergeant Ian Scott of Central Scotland Police said the organisation of such youth gatherings on social networks was making it difficult for police to control, but progress has been made.

He added: “There is no doubt the youths are travelling further down because of the increased patrols.

“Some are also relocating to the back of Braes High School. The children are aged between 12 and 16 and there has been instances of under-14s drinking, which is very worrying.

“We are working with partners such as the school and the local shops, who have helped. Taking drink [off them] at an early stage has also helped the situation.

“We would appeal to parents to know where their kids are, who they are with, make sure they are safe and be aware of what they are doing on social networks as there has been large-scale disturbances advertised on them. There are so many mediums for them to do this type of thing now.”

Police are urging anyone with concerns over this type of antisocial behaviour to contact them on 01786 456000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.