Plea for calm as tensions run high in Newburgh

Chief Inspector John McDonald.
Chief Inspector John McDonald.
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FIFE Police have appealed for calm in Newburgh where feelings are running high following the tragic death of a local teenager in a car crash earlier this year.

Tension in the community has been growing, and it is understood there have been several disturbances and arrests made recently.

The situation is believed to relate to the death in March of 18-year-old Ricky Brown.

Ricky was a passenger in the car being driven by Jamie Fleming, also from Newburgh, when it crashed on the Friarton Bridge near Perth, and died later from his injuries at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

One local resident told the Fife Herald that tensions had been at ‘boiling point’ for some time.

Another said: “There is a very intimidating atmosphere in the town, but this situation only seems to involve a few people.”

Chief Inspector John McDonald said: “We have been very busy monitoring and dealing with community tensions and associated crimes falling out of this current dispute, and we urge everyone to calm down and not to make a bad situation worse.

“We will robustly investigate and arrest anyone who breaks the law and urge the whole community to be more tolerant and also to assist themselves and the police.”

More than 100 people attended a community engagement meeting held by the police in Newburgh last Thursday, after which the Chief Inspector said one of the priorities identified was dealing with ‘community tensions’.

He said: “We have now agreed to hold a separate public meeting which will be held in the TICC on Monday, September 19, at 7pm.

“The reason for that is to ensure the public are consulted fully on this very important local issue.

“It was very encouraging to see such a large number of the community come to the meeting.

“I would like to thank everyone who attended for their good order, behaviour and the respect shown to the proceedings.”

He added: “We hope to work with this community — all of it — through this difficult period and will try our very best to assist with the reduction of community tension.

“I will be meeting further with anyone from the public on this important community impact issue and would urge everyone in the community to show restraint, patience and tolerance and ask anyone who can influence others to do so in a positive way as we move forward together.”