A GROUP of ‘aggressive and drunk’ troublemakers left people sheltering in fear at a Peebles event earlier this month, according to the organiser.

Neil Dalgleish said he was left infuriated after reports of teenagers verbally abusing volunteers, runners and spectators – including children – at the Tweed Valley Trail Run on Saturday, October 1.

One teenager reportedly brandished a flaming torch that had been used to illuminate the start lane of the race, while others are said to have removed race equipment.

Mr Dalgleish said that fear was visible in the faces of parents and police were called to the scene.

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One of the volunteers at the event – who did not want to be named – said: “I had a chill in my stomach as one of the youths, who was at least six feet tall, grabbed one of the torches and brandished it about.

“One of the other girls was alone in the dark collecting other equipment and I felt genuinely scared for her safety. It was really intimidating, and they were shouting and swearing at us and the runners.”

Mr Dalgleish said there were “serious levels of threat and aggression” from the group.

“This situation will make any event organiser think twice about hosting future events in Peebles and will also have an impact on the potential for return visitors,” he said.

“Not only did they threaten and intimidate our staff and remove event equipment, they also shouted abuse and swore at runners taking part in the race for no reason.

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“Finishing competitors and spectators were seriously afraid, with some reluctant to leave Hay Lodge in the dark, taking shelter with others in our marquee.

“Children there to cheer on a parent had to endure prolonged shouting and swearing from the band of youths intent on causing upset and trouble.

“They were bewildered by what was going on and you could see the fear in parents’ faces.”

Anti-social behaviour in the town has been an ongoing issue, with chief inspector Vinnie Fisher – local area commander for the Borders – last week urging Peebles residents to ‘engage’ with officers to help tackle the problem.

Mr Dalgleish said that “as a community we need to put pressure on to change these young people’s behaviour”.

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“Most of the visiting runners will hopefully not have been too badly affected, but some of our staff in the finish area were genuinely terrified by what was going on,” he added.

“Sadly I think some action has to be taken before this whole situation gets even worse, though I’m aware our experience on Saturday night is perhaps just a small indicator of a much wider problem here at the moment.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police received a report of anti-social behaviour involving a small group of youths at Hay Lodge Park in Peebles around 8.15pm on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

“Officers attended, however the youths dispersed and no further reports were received.”