Lanark's historic closes scenes of drink and drug use

The people of Lanark can play a vital part in reclaiming their historic network of closes back from the modern scourges of drug and drink abuse.
Duncans Close in Lanark.Duncans Close in Lanark.
Duncans Close in Lanark.

That was the message delivered by the police in a review of local crime trends also warning of the return of so-called boy-racers to the town’s roads.

Those and other concerns were discussed when Lanark’s two recently-appointed problem-solving officers, police constables David Cowan and Melitta Pllu, attended the latest meeting of Lanark Community Council.

Council members heard that police had identified certain parts of town such as Smyllum Road as having a concentration of drug abuse, but council members also flagged up other areas of the town where they had witnessed persons under the influence of illegal substances or drink.

Worryingly, these were near some of Lanark’s most vulnerable citizens, such as Smiddy Court, where there is a large concentration of elderly folk and Duncan’s Close, near a nursery.

One council member claimed that they had watched people in High Street in the middle of an afternoon having to avoid drug-abusers behaving erratically.

Another council member said that groups of drug-users and drinkers were to be seen in the ancient netwok of closes behind Lanark High Street, making ordinary citizens wary of using them, especially at nights.

Both constables stressed the importance of members of the public witnessing such incidents to get in touch with the police immediately so that officers can react quickly.

“It would give us an edge,” commented Pc Pllu.

Pc Cowan rejected a claim by one council member that crack cocaine was now freely available in Lanark. He said that milder, though still illegal, herbal cannabis was, by far, the local drug of choice these days.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing what council members thought was a rise in cases of boy-racers speeding in and around Lanark, although the constables pointed out that traffic policing is not their speciality.

They heard that Lanark appears to have two popular racing circuits, with the Tesco car park in Gallowhill being used as a base for the racers in the evenings. From there, they take an inner-town route, returning to Gallowhill via Hope Street.

There is also a popular racetrack using Cleghorn Road and returning to Lanark via Stanmore Road.