Youth ‘trolled’ airport radio and taxi networks

The 18-year-old interfered with radio networks, causing disruption at Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The 18-year-old interfered with radio networks, causing disruption at Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A TEENAGER has been arrested and charged on suspicion of “trolling” workers using private radio networks across the Capital.

The 18-year-old is suspected of intercepting several frequencies – including those at Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh Castle – and making threatening and abusive comments.

He was detained for more than 20 offences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, alleged to have taken place between June 2014 and last month.

Ground staff at Edinburgh Airport were among those affected by the incidents. However, there was no security risk or interference with Air Traffic Control. And the radio system at Edinburgh Castle was hacked, causing “genuine concern” for employees who overheard “offensive” comments.

Other victims are believed to have included staff at city taxi firms, traffic wardens, and Network Rail employees.

The offences appear to have been committed at random on the wavelengths, rather than targeting specific firms or individuals.

Police seized equipment from a property in Craigmillar on Monday after a five-month joint investigation between local officers, communications watchdog Ofcom and British Transport Police. The case has now been reported to the

Procurator Fiscal.

Inspector Murray Starkey said: “This type of crime may appear relatively low-risk. However, the impact has caused genuine concern for the individuals and organisations involved, as well as significant disruption to their daily business.

“Our joint investigations have led to a man being charged with over 20 offences. This demonstrates the value of our partnership with Ofcom and is an example to others that perpetrators of these crimes will be traced and held to account.”

Ofcom’s spectrum engineering and enforcement director, Mark Walls, said deliberate radio interference can cause “severe disruption and distress”.

He added: “We worked closely with the community policing team and the British Transport Police to thoroughly investigate and bring the illegal interference to an end.”

A spokesman for Historic Scotland said: “Thanks to the swift actions of our on-site staff and Police Scotland, disruption to operations at the Castle was minimal.”

The Wireless Telegraphy Act covers a range of issues, from radio licencing to criminal matters. Offences relating to illegal or unauthorised use of radio can attract fines of up to £5000 and two years’ imprisonment.

Anyone who has further information about these crimes is asked to call police on 101.

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