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Coronavirus / Councillor appalled by what he saw at Harrison Square

Southend councillor Allison (Flea) Duncan said he is seriously concerned by people not paying attention to the Covid-19 guidance and laws.

A SENIOR SIC councillor has expressed his concern over the disregard for Covid-19 laws displayed by some young people after witnessing in person another large gathering at Harrison Square in the early hours of Sunday.

Southend councillor Allison (Flea) Duncan, who is the vice-chair of the isles’ community safety and resilience board, took it upon himself to travel into town to see events unfolding in Lerwick town centre between 1am and 1.45am.

Describing the 74 mainly young people he counted at Harrison Square and near the chip shop as “selfish idiots”, he said their behaviour was “absolutely disgraceful” and was undermining all the valuable work NHS Shetland and the local authority have done to keep the Covid-19 virus at bay.

Witnessing how police officers arrived at the scene and started dispersing the crowd, councillor Duncan said he was seeking a meeting with area commander Lindsay Tulloch to urge him to take more firm actions in enforcing the rules designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

This follows events from previous weekends, when local police appealed to parents of teenage children to be vigilant as to their whereabouts following “several weekends of anti-social behaviour by youths within Lerwick town centre”.

After leaving his home in Dunrossness just before midnight, councillor Duncan arrived at the Victoria Pier car park at half past midnight and took up position to watch the Harrison Square area.

“By ten past one there were young people gathering in Harrison Square from three directions, so I left my car and walked towards the square as discreetly as I could and counted the people in the square and at the chip shop there,” he reported.

“There were 52 in Harrison Square and 22 at the chip shop between inside and outside.

“At that time there was a total disregard to masks, I could only see two masks; secondly, there was no social distancing at all; and thirdly I saw a group of boys passing around a bottle.

“During the time I could see a police car passing to and fro, so they were obviously aware of this and were trying to get a grip of the situation.

“At 1.23am the police car came back and two officers got out and started walking towards the crowd. They seemed to be getting on reasonably well with the crowd, but I saw the senior officers grabbing a bottle from one of the group and turning it upside down.

“At 1.35am a police van arrived and two officers got out. The senior officers then told the crowd to disperse. There was a silence for a few seconds, and then a few of them then began to leave slowly in different directions.”

Speaking to Shetland News on Monday, the councillor said he was seriously concerned by what he saw.

“They are a bunch of selfish idiots, to put it mildly, paying no attention to the seriousness of the situation after we have just had another case of Covid-19 confirmed in Shetland earlier in the week,” he said.

“We try to protect the people of Shetland from this illness, and we must protect our old folk in the care homes. That is paramount.

“If Covid-19 gets a hold in Shetland again, all the good work NHS Shetland, the council, police and employers have done over the months will be lost – and here there were 74 people gathering at Harrison Square. It is absolutely crucial that somebody gets a grip of it and stops it immediately.”

Councillor Duncan also commented on the litter left behind as the crowd dispersed.

Police Scotland’s media representatives as well as chief inspector Tulloch have both been contacted, but there has been no response yet.