Yob guilty of fracas that closed Peebles town centre for 5 hours

A PARTY-GOER from Edinburgh has pleaded guilty to his part in a riot which closed down a town centre for almost five hours.

William Drynan, 31, from Upper Craigour, admitted threatening behaviour and throwing missiles at police in Northgate, Peebles, when the house party got spectacularly out of hand.

Oliver Eaton, 20, and David Stanton, 25, from Peebles and David Manson, 23, from Broughton, also pleaded guilty to the same charge when they appeared at Peebles Sheriff Court this week while five others had their not guilty pleas accepted.

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The main street in Peebles was shut to traffic for five hours after almost 40 police officers surrounded a flat party attended by the group at 6.20am on Sunday, January 30.

Fixtures and fittings of the rented two-storey property were thrown at police during the stand-off.

Procurator fiscal Tessa Bradley told the court how police originally arrived in Northgate to deal with a nearby alarm before becoming aware of the excessive noise from the flat.

She said: "The property was well-known locally for its open-door policy as a party house, quite a considerable number of other persons were present within when police knocked on the street-level door at 6.20am.

"Immediately they were met with a volley of abuse and a number of male voices were heard behind the door uttering threats and insults."

Officers then backed off and called for assistance as revellers began climbing out on to the roof and throwing batteries and parts of the bannister from its windows.

Party-goers who wanted to leave now found themselves barricaded in the property while outside riot police prepared to raid it. Eventually the door was opened at 8.20am and police stormed in.

The fire brigade and gas engineers had also been called amid fears of a gas explosion.

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Speaking on behalf of Drynan, defence agent Chris Fehilly said: "Mr Drynan regrets his part in this. This entire incident boils down to an inability to consume alcohol in a reasonable fashion.

"He attended the party, things escalated and he got swept along. The police were allowed access and eventually the whole thing fizzled out when sobriety began to clear once clouded minds."

Sheriff Kevin Drummond deferred sentence for reports.

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