The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS SPECIAL - By Alex Cole-Hamil­ton LO­CAL MSP

I’M just get­ting to the stage where, with bated breath and fingers crossed, I al­low my nine year old son to cross the street by him­self.

The thought that cross­ing at the green man, in broad day­light, he could be mown down by a mo­tor­cy­cle thief cuts me to the quick.

But that’s the re­al­ity for my con­stituents in Muir­house and has been so for three years – brought into stark fo­cus with the hor­rific col­li­sion be­tween a mo­tor­bike and a 10 year old boy last weekend.

Muir­house has been ne­glected by the po­lit­i­cal classes for decades but it re­mains a dy­namic and re­silient com­mu­nity and I’m proud to rep­re­sent it.

Day and night, lo­cal res­i­dents bear wit­ness to high speed races which has al­ready re­sulted in one fa­tal­ity.

As such the tragic hit and run last weekend was not un­ex­pected – but it is the last straw. The po­lice have

been do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to bring these of­fend­ers to jus­tice. They’ve got pretty good at get­ting their man (and it is ex­clu­sively young men), but for all the ar­rests made, frus­trat­ingly few cus­to­dial sen­tences are handed down.

Ben McPher­son MSP and I have made rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the Lord Ad­vo­cate and the courts about the need for tougher sen­tences in this re­gard. But the so­lu­tion has to be about more than just the pur­suit of jus­tice.

We need to do more to of­fer those in­volved some­thing bet­ter and more con­struc­tive to do with their time, with a ma­jor in­vest­ment in fa­cil­i­ties for young peo­ple in the area. This prob­lem de­mands the at­ten­tion of our city lead­ers and govern­ment min­is­ters as it isn’t go­ing away.

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