Teenage thieves suspected of snatching the mobile phones of an eight-year-old girl and her 10-year-old friend as they played happily together in a Hawick park have been condemned by the youngsters’ angry parents.
Emma Paterson, eight, of Kelso, and her pal Emily Colwill, of Hawick, regularly meet up with a group of other friends on Sunday afternoons in Wilton Lodge Park.
Last weekend, as they chatted happily, someone stole the youngsters’ phones, left among bags, coats and other belongings under the park’s distinctive double yellow swing.
After the distraught pals discovered the theft, they borrowed mobiles from friends to call their parents.
Some older girls, in their teens, were in the park at the time, and one teenage girl in particular is said to have been acting aggressively towards the younger children.
Emily’s mum, Laura, 38, of Drumlanrig Mews, has contacted the police and hopes that CCTV footage from the park will identify the culprits.
She said: “Basically, there was few teenagers up there, and they are renowned for not being very nice and one had been saying things like ‘what are you looking at?’ towards the girls, the kind of things you should not be saying in a playpark, and we do think it was this particular person, but we can’t just assume that.
“My daughter was distraught, and I think it will probably put the kids off going up to the park. I’ve had one of the other parents saying she would rather they go to her house in future if stuff like that is happening there.”
Emma’s dad, David, added: “Emma was at the park with her sister Rachael, who is nine, and a number of other friends.
“She was pretty distressed at what happened, and I’m angry that someone could do this, especially to such young girls.
“I’m not sure what is happening in that park, but we’re not going to let some stupid teenagers spoil things for the kids and they will be back.
“ There are always one or two bad eggs.”