South Scotland

Galashiels rural youth drinking camp 'surge' concerns

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Image caption Police said groups of more than 50 young people had been meeting up to drink in rural areas

Police have urged parents to warn their children about drinking in rural locations after a "surge" in large-scale gatherings in the Borders.

Groups of more than 50 youths have been using social media to arrange events on the outskirts of Galashiels.

They have been meeting up in parts of the local countryside to "camp overnight and drink alcohol".

Police said they had subsequently had to deal with "associated drunkenness and anti-social behaviour".

"The issues of youths drinking and camping out at weekends are not new but, given the large number involved in recent weeks, my concerns have been raised," said Insp Tony Hodges.

"In particular, we are worried about the safety of the younger children involved given the diverse ages and backgrounds of those who are gathering.

"I would ask parents to ensure they know where their children are going at weekends as well as speaking with them about the potential risks associated with over consumption of alcohol in isolated rural locations."

Local officers will be stepping up patrols in those areas known to have been used in recent weeks.

Police Scotland said it would be taking a "robust approach" to any offences in an effort to keep young people safe.

Insp Hodges added: "Anyone who has any knowledge of such pre-planned events can contact us on the non-emergency number 101 or alternatively in confidence via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111."

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