T in the Park blamed for massive rise in rural drug offences

SCOTLAND’S largest music festival, T in the Park, has been blamed for a massive increase in drug-related offences in a rural area over the past five years.

A community safety survey to be studied by councillors in Perth and Kinross next week details a 45% per cent rise in drug offences between 1999 and last year.

The study, which is part of a project to tackle antisocial behaviour, also highlights how the number of incidents of annoyance behaviour has increased each year.

There were 5,546 of these offences, including drinking in public and under-age drinking, fireworks offences, road rage and youth disturbances, during 1999/00.

But by the 2003/04 that figure had increased by 58% to a total of 8,762, with substantial increases recorded each year.

The number of racist incidents in Perth and Kinross has also increased for the past couple of years, with the latest annual figure recorded as 35.

The study, to go before Perth and Kinross Council’s safety committee on Wednesday, said: "It should be noted that the majority of these [drug offences] occur in July and are likely to be attributable to the annual T in the Park festival."

The survey also showed that crimes of vandalism had increased by almost one-fifth over the same period, with some of the culprits aged as young as nine.

The most common age of juvenile offenders is 14, and 77% of them were male.

Nearly one in 10 of the offenders were caught on four or more occasions.

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