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Stornoway residents fearful after ‘youths terrorise family’ to hold public meeting

Stornoway in the Western Isles. Photo: Bill McKelvie/Shutterstock.
Stornoway in the Western Isles. Photo: Bill McKelvie/Shutterstock.

After “groups of youths” terrorised a Stornoway family and posted a film of their actions online – the area’s community council plan to hold a public meeting.

Stornoway Community Council wants to shine a spotlight on young people who are reportedly threatening people with rape, menacing people for money and following people home and damaging cars as people go about the city centre.

After her own family were attacked, it led to a petition being launched by mum-of-two Louise Barron-MacDonald calling for action.

Young people are being blamed for antisocial behaviour in Stornoway.

Ms Barron-MacDonald said: “Woman and children are being threatened with rape, members of the public are being followed home, criminal damage to property and vehicles is a common occurrence, motorists are being abused, elderly people are being menaced for money, people are being subjected to death threats at their own homes, the list goes on and on.

After saying that she and her family had been attacked and their car damaged, she continued: “Enough is enough, this behaviour cannot continue.” Nearly 2,000 people have signed the petition. 

A statement issued by the community council and Ms Barron-MacDonald, said: “Stornoway has been dealing with the problem of groups of youths displaying extremely anti-social behaviour for quite some time now – a problem which came to a head last month when a family were terrorised by one gang in video footage that was posted online.

‘Behaviour is calling real fear’

“This led to a petition being launched by Louisa Barron-MacDonald, calling for action.

“We have come together with the MacDonald family to hold a public meeting as a first step to addressing and attempting to resolve these ongoing problems.

“As we see it, there are two main strands to this complex issue. There is the fact the behaviours are severely antisocial and have been causing real fear and alarm, with members of the community experiencing all sorts of threats and behaviours.

“Then there is the child protection aspect and we would like to see what can be done, if we bring the right people together round the table, in terms of getting these youngsters onto a better path and setting them up for a better future.”

Western Isles MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil said: “”I commend Stornoway Community Council for their proactive approach to organise a public meeting on this issue which I know is a matter of concern for many in the community.

“Thankfully, crime levels remain low in the Western Isles and it is imperative that people continue to feel safe in our island communities.

“I hope the meeting will lead to positive collaborative actions going forward and some better behaviour.”

The meeting is to be held on May 25 at The Failte Centre on Bayhead at 7pm.

The community council said it was encouraged by the responses it had received so far, including that of  Chief Inspector Alasdair Macleod, who has confirmed he will be attending the meeting and participating in the group.

A spokeswoman for police declined to comment ahead of the meeting.

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