FED-UP businesses in Haddington town centre have called for help to deal with anti-social behaviour.

A group – involving various organisations – has been set up in a bid to solve the problem after repeated complaints of people shouting, swearing and congregating in shop doorways.

Moira Graham, of Graham the Jeweller, was one of those who had noticed an increase in anti-social behaviour.

She said: “This year, for all the years we have been here, there has been more anti-social behaviour than I have seen in the past.

“There has been a lot of aggressive shouting, physical fighting and people shouting out of windows.

“There are people drinking alcohol on High Street and groups of youths just hanging about intimidatingly.”

Mrs Graham added she was “really, really pleased” that the Problem Solving Partnership (PSP) had been formed, with the group looking to address the concerns of the businesses.

Erica Muirhead, from fellow High Street business Erica’s, echoed those comments and was similarly pleased about the formation of the PSP. The group, which is made up of East Lothian Council, Police Scotland and other agencies, meets in a bid to find a solution to the problems.

She said: “There has been a ridiculous level of people shouting, swearing and aggressive behaviour towards each other and even aggressive behaviour to people who may happen to be passing them. I have been here 39 years and I have never known it as bad.

“This year just seems to be ridiculous.”

The businesswoman was keen to see more of a community warden and police presence in the town centre, which she hoped would address the problem.

The PSP is made up of representatives from Police Scotland, East Lothian Council’s Safer Communities team including community wardens, Haddington and District Community Council and the town’s business association.

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said: “This particular meeting discussed concerns expressed by traders of disruption cause to their businesses during opening hours by individuals shouting, swearing and congregating within shop doorways.

“Agreed action includes planned patrols by both police and community wardens to identify and take appropriate action against these individuals.”

The issue was also highlighted as a priority by Haddington and Lammermuir Community and Police Partnership (CAPP), which meets on Monday evening.

In his Courier column last week, Chief Inspector Steven Duncan, local police commander, acknowledged the problem in the town, adding: “As well as general public nuisance, we are aware of anti-social behaviour occurring at local and civic events, which we absolutely condemn.

“A relatively small minority appear to be the cause of the issue.”