The owner of A1 pets on Great Junction Street, Mr Paul Clark, has put out a public appeal for help to try to identify the members of a group of 25 people involved in what he described as a “scaled down riot” which saw them attempt to set fire to his pet shop whilst the animals were inside.
Despite the fact that the people involved, said to be aged between 12 and 18, were throwing bottles and rocks over the street at a flat above the Tesco Metro, as well as attacking the pet shop, Mr Clark said Police did not contact him or arrive on the scene until a remarkable 18 hours after he first alerted them to the disturbance.
Following the incident, which took place on Thursday September the 4th at 21.00, Mr Clark circulated an email circulated to other businesses that described what happened. He said:
“Last night when I came to check on the animals at 21:00 I discovered a scaled down riot occurring across the street which involved between 15 – 25 people aged between 12 – 18 years old. They were firing filled bottles and rocks over the road and to a flat on the second floor above the Tesco Express and they were using the bus stop for shelter.
“I could not even approach my shop and had to call the police because they were attacking my shutters also. The police were unhelpful on the telephone call in which I told them that the situation was escalating. By 21:15 they were setting fire to card and trying to put it under my shutter. I may remind you all that they were not doing this to the Dentists, the empty old pram shop but to the only shop with LIVE animals in it. The police NEVER arrived or contacted me on the number provided OR to my address at the shop.
“I had to intervene myself telling the youths that the police were on their way (I wish I had known then that Police Scotland had no intentions of even checking after a local business man reported a crime of such a scale).
“The animals in the shop were terrified when I got in and have only settled with our support this morning.
“I am sickened, appalled and disgusted by the behaviour of the youth in Leith, the lack of response and patronising tone of the police on 101 and that any person(s) deliberately attacking a shop with live animals in it with fire and force.
“It has become grotesquely clear that Police Scotland DO NOT CARE ABOUT LEITH.”
In another email the next day, Mr Clark thanked people for their messages of support and added:
“It has been a difficult time for us at the shop- we are trying to do what we can for this community and this must surely demonstrate the immediate need for something to change in this place. It can’t be ignored.
“Even if it weren’t the animals involved- there must be 100+ residents above and around in the tenements above our shop, can we wait until this mob-like mentality results in a horrific fire or simply drives what business that still survives on Great Junction Street completely out of business?”
It remains to be seen whether the Police will be able to identify any of those involved in this incident – or indeed sort out their abysmal response times. They have pledged to look through local CCTV records to see if they can identify any of those involved.
And in the meantime, we can only urge folk to rally around and support Mr Clark and his business – as we know from experience that Mr Clark is one of the good guys. He agreed to sponsor this.
You can find A1 Pets on Facebook here.
It would appear that Police Scotland dispute the version of events given by the owner of the pet shop. In a tweet they said:
@greenerleith There are inaccuracies in article including alleged 'non attendance'. A number of lines of enquiry are being followed
— EdinburghNorthPolice (@EdinNorthPolice) September 9, 2013