Ven­nels drugs scourge

An­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour is rife on city cen­tre streets

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - John Row­botham

A shock­ing video graph­i­cally il­lus­trat­ing prob­lems faced by some Top of the Town res­i­dents has been sent to the Ob­server.

It shows three young men gath­er­ing dur­ing the week­end of Septem­ber 23 and 24 in the Sma’ Ven­nel, be­tween Baker Street and Spit­tal Street, to snort sus­pected drugs.

A young woman at first fea­tures with the three but when she walks out of shot, one of the men pinches a sub­stance from his hand and snorts it.

Sec­onds later, the other two take and snort some of the sub­stance from the man who runs his fin­ger around the in­side of his mouth. All three then walk out of cam­era range.

We re­ceived the 37-sec­ond tape just days af­ter high­light­ing in our Septem­ber 27 pa­per a pro­posal by Mer­cat Cross and City cen­tre Com­mu­nity Coun­cil for a sum­mit meet­ing to dis­cuss an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour prob­lems in the Top of the Town.

Com­mu­nity Coun­cil chair­man An­drew Szwebs, was shocked when the Ob­server showed him the tape, and said: “Not only do res­i­dents have to en­dure the snort­ing of drugs but also the in­ject­ing of drugs, un­der age drink­ing, vom­it­ing, uri­na­tion, ex­cre­tion and peo­ple com­mit­ting sex­ual acts.

“It is en­tirely un­der­stand­able that res­i­dents of this Ven­nel are ex­tremely up­set that th­ese things are go­ing on.”

Stir­ling MSP Bruce Craw­ford has now writ­ten to both Stir­ling Area Po­lice Com­man­der, Chief In­spec­tor Lynn Rat­cliff, and Stir­ling Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Ste­wart Car­ruth to seek help for res­i­dents in the area plagued the prob­lems.

Mr Craw­ford has re­ceived a num­ber of complaints from res­i­dents of the ven­nels. One per­son was an­gry about the amount of vomit left each week­end in the dimly-lit pas­sage­ways.

Mr Craw­ford said: “The res­i­dents I have spo­ken to are se­ri­ously con­cerned that they are not be­ing fully sup­ported and that this sit­u­a­tion has not im­proved de­spite mul­ti­ple re­ports to the po­lice and coun­cil.

“Many of the res­i­dents tell me the coun­cil has not done enough to put in place de­ter­rents for this sort of be­hav­iour and it is there­fore al­lowed to con­tinue.

“Peo­ple felt that as the area seems to be a hot­bed of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, reg­u­lar pa­trolling from po­lice of­fi­cers, par­tic­u­larly at week­ends, would help de­ter those who would en­gage an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.”

Con­stituents were also call­ing for in­vest­ment in bet­ter light­ing, CCTV and im­proved sig­nage, he added.

Stir­ling Coun­cil pub­lic safety con­venor Maureen Ben­ni­son said, “We take any in­stances of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in Stir­ling very se­ri­ously. We are open to dis­cussing th­ese is­sues with Mer­cat and City Cen­tre com­mu­nity coun­cil­lors and will be work­ing with the lo­cal com­mu­nity, as well as our col­leagues in Po­lice Scot­land, to ad­dress any is­sues raised.”

Go to our web­site, www. stir­lin­gob­ to view film.

Snort­ing Sus­pected drug use in Sma’ Ven­nel. Left, men share sub­stances in an ex­change which was caught on cam­era

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