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COPS' RED LIGHT FURY; Kerb crawl charge dropped.

Byline: ROBERT FAIRBURN

POLICE hit out last night after charges were dropped against a top councillor accused of kerb crawling.

Alec Nicol - leader of the ruling Liberal Democrat group on Scottish Borders Council - cruised the streets of Leith, Edinburgh, in his Mitsubishi car on the night of a crackdown on kerb crawling.

The 61-year-old married farmer, from Kelso, was charged with committing a breach of the peace and was due to appear at Edinburgh District Court yesterday.

However, the procurator fiscal dropped the charges before the case was called and refused to explain why.

A police source said: "There have been so many complaints about kerb crawling in the area, which is why we had the crackdown.

"There is a view that this should have gone to trial."

Last night, Councillor Nicol - who was education spokesman before standing down after he was charged - issued a statement to explain why he was in the Leith area, where his daughter lives, late at night.

He said: "I have been following with interest the plight of the residents of Leith who have demonstrated against the red light area.

"A very close member of my family lives there.

"Following an evening meeting in Edinburgh, I decided to go home via Leith to see the problem for myself.

"I am pleased that the procurator fiscal has accepted my explanation."

A Crown Office spokesman would only say: "It is policy not to disclose the reason for taking no proceedings."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 5, 2002
Words:243
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