Police have launched a manhunt to identify the ‘morons’ who spoiled the party atmosphere at Stranraer’s Stair Park last Sunday by letting off smoke bombs behind a goal ahead of Stranraer taking on Celtic in the Scottish Cup.
Chief Inspector Mark Hollis, speaking at Wednesday’s Wigtown Area Committee business meeting, said there would be an extensive investigation into the incident that involved Celtic fans.
The inspector said that the vast majority of the fans at the game, which Celtic won 3-0, were well behaved, but he was well aware that the fans may have taken advantage of the smaller ground and a limited police presence to “do things they wouldn’t get away with at their home ground”. He said CCTV footage was being studied to identify the culprits and that bans would follow.
Mid Galloway Alistair Geddes was incensed that the actions of the few had detracted from two very positive stories that day. Firstly, the cheque presentation to Newton Stewart’s Riverside Day Centre from the Celtic FC Foundation to help repair the building damaged by flooding and secondly the man of the match performance from Stranraer’s 18-year-old second string goalkeeper, Max Currie.
Councillor Geddes said: “Celtic were founded on charity and the cheque for the day centre was a marvellous gesture, it’s a pity a handful of morons could destroy the club’s reputation. And the wee boy that won the man of the match award was hardly mentioned.”
Councillor Jim McColm added: “The behaviour of a small number of fans overshadowed the cheque presentation.”
Chief Inspector Hollis was there to give an update to elected members on police performance from April to Septemer 2015. He commented there was a worrying upwards trend in statistics for violent crime, up 63 per cent and petty (common) assault, up 83 per cent. The inspector told the meeting that alcohol consumption played a major part in many of the assaults.
Of the 380 stop and searches conducted across the region, 35 per cent had a positive outcome, a “very high percentage” said the chief inspector.
He was also worried that while the rate of housebreaking in Wigtownshire had gone up 71 per cent the detection rate had dropped by 66 per cent. This was due to the time lag between offences and the perpetrators being identified.