There is fear that an innocent passer-by is going to be “assaulted or worse” by “menacing youths” as Barrhead's ongoing problem with anti-social behaviour rages on.

A resident, who has asked not to be named, has raised concerns about a large group of youths who have been "causing havoc" in the area for a number of years.

The youngsters, who are believed to be aged between 12 and 15 and usually dressed all in black with masks or snoods, are said to be “constantly harassing shoppers, entering and exiting the Asda store on the Main Street, and nearby Carlibar Park.”

It is also claimed they “regularly pick on and assault youths who are much younger than themselves.”

Barrhead News:

The resident told the Barrhead News: “The real question is, why are their parents allowing this to happen?

"No doubt the police know who the main culprits are.

“I and many share the view that unless this anti-social problem is addressed then more misery for shoppers and others is only going to continue and potentially escalate.

“I am also sympathetic in that some of these youths are easily led and probably deep down would rather be doing something else with their time than standing outside a local shop harassing customers.

“I have lived in the area for more than 30 years and have never seen anything like it.”

Barrhead News:

Concerns about anti-social behaviour around the supermarket have been raised repeatedly in recent times.

In December, West Scotland MSP Paul O’Kane met with the town’s store manager and Asda’s senior corporate affairs manager about the issue.

At the time, the Scottish Labour politician urged that the “threatening atmosphere and the intimidation of staff and customers” outside the shop must stop.

“I walked into the meeting with the Barrhead Asda team believing I knew the scale of the problem, but it would seem even worse and that it is occurring regularly,” he added.

Commenting on the issue this week, he said: “Anti-social behaviour persisting in the local area is of course very concerning.

“I met with the police, council and Asda to discuss the actions they were taking and we agreed to review this regularly.

“As it has been some months since my initial engagement with Asda and East Renfrewshire Council, I intend to meet with all the relevant organisations for an update on the matter and to see what more can be done.

“Customers and passers-by shouldn’t have to tolerate feeling intimidated outside Asda and I’ll do everything I can to ensure that all the local resources at the community’s disposal can be used to tackle this problem.”

The supermarket said that the safety of their colleagues is a top priority and they have increased security measures at the Barrhead store. 

"We do not tolerate anti-social behaviour in any of our stores and continue to work closely with the local authorities,” added an Asda spokesperson.

In February, top East Renfrewshire cop, Inspector Michelle Grant, called on parents “to know where their children are” amid the problem.

Commenting generally on anti-social behaviour in the Barrhead area at the end of last week, she said: “We know that anti-social behaviour involving youths can cause concern and have a detrimental impact on our communities.  

“Our local policing team carry out regular high-visibility patrols to deter this kind of behaviour and we continue to work with our partners to address the issue.

“Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for us and where instances do occur, we would encourage these to be reported via 101 so that we can investigate accordingly.”