Smoke bombs overshawdow cheque presentation

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Police have launched a man hunt to identify the fans that spoiled a party atmosphere at Stair Park by letting off smoke bombs behind a goal.

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 some Celtic fans took advantage of the smaller ground and a limited police presence to “do thing they wouldn’t get away with at their home ground.” He said CCTV footage was being scanned to identify the culprits and that bans would follow.

Mid Galloway Alistair Geddes was incensed that the action 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 flood damage and secondly the man of the match performance from Stranraer’s 18-year-olds 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.”

Day Centre manager Susan McCalman said: “We are overwhelmed by the donation from Celtic FC Foundation. This came about because they were contacted by local fundraiser and Celtic fan Jason Adair. We are very grateful to Jason. The money Celtic donated is being used now to start replacing items damaged by the flood.

“The clean up of the devastation at the Centre is underway and thanks to the tremendous support from our local community and the council’s quick response to repairing the floor damage we are getting there.

We are able to offer a reduced service at the Newton Stewart Initiative Centre, next to the library.”

Inspector Hollis was there to give an update to elected members on police performance from April to September 2015. He commented there was a worrying trend upwards in the 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 percent had a positive outcome, a “very high percentage” said the officer.

He was also concerned that while the rate of house breaking in Wigtownshire had gone up 71 per cent the detection rate had dropped dramatically by 66 per cent. This was due to the time lag between offences being committed and perpetrators identified.