Edinburgh residents report having to dodge human poo in stairwells

Those who take an interest in the Capital’s rich history will be well aware of Edinburgh’s medieval days when passers-by would dodge waste being flung from windows upon hearing the cry of “gardyloo”.

Several residents have posted about their experiences in the online discussion forum Reddit.
Several residents have posted about their experiences in the online discussion forum Reddit.

Now, some tenants are reporting having to dodge the waste in their own stairwells.

In a post on the discussion-based website Reddit, a user from Edinburgh said they smelt an “eye watering stench” in the stairwell before realising somebody had defecated, prompting a string of responses from other victims.

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Among the places users reported finding excrement were shared stairwells in Dalry, Leith, Gorgie, Rose Street and the Cowgate.

Speaking to the Evening News, Oscar, a tenant of a tenement by Leith Walk, said: “I just went to work at around 6am and I could smell a really strong stench of something in the stairway.

“When I went through the first door, which is locked, I quickly found out what was the source. Of course I felt disgusted and a bit shocked as well, as it’s not anything I’ve ever been used to seeing in a public place.”

The increase in incidents of this nature have been blamed on a mix of the rising number of short-term lets in the Capital, tenants not properly closing their front doors and service buzzers, which allow anyone to enter a block of flats during the day, intended for use by postal deliveries.

Alison McInnes, an IT worker who lives in the High Street, said this is an increasing problem at her property: “I’ve had to clear up three lots of human poo from my stair in the past three months. I’ve lived in my flat for 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened before.

“Previously, if someone left the ground floor door entry open you might have got the occasional group of teenagers coming in smoking but that’s all.

“I think it is definitely linked in some way to all the short-term lets and Airbnbs in the area – my stair has five flats let out like this with up to six people sharing each flat every weekend. These people don’t close the gate and don’t care about security.

“For those renting out their properties it’s just easy money. They don’t give a stuff for those who actually live here.”

Responding to the reports, a spokesperson for City of Edinburgh Council said: “We are not aware of any evidence that this is a growing problem but it’s completely unacceptable for anyone to treat people’s homes and neighbourhoods in this way. Incidents where the perpetrator is identified or witnessed should be reported to the police.”

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