CALLS have been made for police to clamp down on trouble in Melrose – and avoid a repeat of drunken violence at Hogmanay.

Officers from across the Borders had to be drafted in on New Year’s Eve as around 200 youths battled in the town.

And community leaders say visitors were frightened to leave their hotels when it all kicked off in the Market Square.

Local butcher Martin Baird branded the violence as a ‘damn disgrace’.

He told last week’s meeting of Melrose Community Council: “It is getting worse every year.
“People felt intimidated and they are saying they will not be coming back next year to stay in the hotels.

“There is already enough pressure on the High Street, without this going on.

“One year I am worried they will kick the windows of my shop in.”
Police admitted they struggled to contain the violence on the streets as tourists watched on from hotel windows.

And it is claimed some of battling thugs were as young as 14.

Local police officer Calum Wilson said: “We did the best we could with limited resources.

“There is only so much the police can do.

“We are trying to come up with a solution to stop this.

“Their parents have to take a degree of responsibility. 

“Maybe some of them would have had no idea where their children were that night.”

Melrose became the place to be at New Year for over a decade with music and fireworks providing entertainment for revellers from across the country.

But as the street party grew year on year concerns over safety and security led to efforts for Hogmanay in the town to be downscaled.

Community councillor Val Miller wants a greater police presence in the town to deter repeat scenes at the next Hogmanay.

PC Wilson replied: “There are only so many police officers in the Borders, and they need to cover a lot of towns.

“People still seem to come to Melrose because we used to have the fireworks.”

Community Council chairman William Windram added: “People will feel intimidated if there are youths who are inebriated and out of control.

“My hope was that after one or two years without the fireworks display, the crowds would dissipate.”