The Education Chief at Scottish Borders Council, Liberal Democrat Councillor Alec Nicol who chairs the ‘Education & Lifelong Learning Committee” has been charged with kerb crawling for prostitutes in Edinburgh’s Salamander Street, according to reports in several newspapers.
By: ROBERT FAIRBURN Daily Record Nov 21, 2002
A SENIOR member of a scandal hit council was arrested during a police crackdown on kerb crawling. Alex Nicol - Lib Dem leader on Scottish Borders Council - was snared in the operation in a notorious red- light district. The farmer's Mitsubishi four-wheel drive was spotted circling a well- known prostitute pick-up zone in Leith, Edinburgh.
The married father-of-three was stopped by police in Salamander Street shortly before midnight on Tuesday. He was later charged with breach of the peace and bailed to appear in court at a later date. Lothian and Borders Police had launched a crackdown on street prostitution following complaints from residents.
The arrest is the latest setback to hit the council since a pounds £4 million education overspend. Its social work department is being investigated over its handling of a sex abuse case.
Last night Nicol was unavailable for comment at his farm at Morebattle near Kelso, where he stays with his wife Pat. Council leader John Scott said: "I have not spoken to him so I cannot say anything." A council spokesman added: "We would not take any action or consider what we might do until such time as these allegations are proven."
Nicol, councillor for Kelso since 1999, chairs the lifelong learning committee. He is also a senior figure in the Scottish National Farmers Union and represents the Scottish National Federation for Welfare of the Blind. A police spokesman said: "A 61-year-old man was cautioned and charged. A report has been sent to the procurator fiscal."
By DAVID CONNOR The Mirror Nov 21, 2002
A SCANDAL-HIT council was reeling last night after a leading councillor was arrested in a crackdown on kerb crawling. Alex Nicol, 61 - Liberal Dem leader on Scottish Borders Council - was snared in the notorious red-light district in Leith, Edinburgh. The marred dad-of-three was stopped by cops shortly before midnight on Tuesday. He was later charged with breach of the peace and will appear in court at a later date.
Last night Nicol was unavailable for comment at his farm at Morebattle near Kelso where he stays with wife Pat. Council leader John Scott said: "This is news to me. I have not spoken to him."
Lothian and Borders Police had launched a crackdown on street prostitution following complaints from residents and were stopping any driver seen patrolling the area three times.
It is the latest setback to hit the troubled council following a £4 million overspend in the education budget. It was also heavily criticised for its handling of the controversial Miss X case when three men were jailed for a catalogue of abuse against a woman with learning difficulties.
A council spokesman said:"We would not take any action until such time as these allegations are proven. "It is a matter for Councillor Nicol to decide his position."
The Southern Reporter, a newspaper in the Scottish Borders also reports :
Published on Thursday 21 November 2002 09:52
POLICE on the hunt for kerb crawlers in a red-light district of Edinburgh have arrested a senior Borders council, writes Bob Burgess
Farmer Alex Nicol was stopped and quizzed by officers late on Tuesday night. The Kelso councillor was arrested and taken to Leith station where he was further quizzed and charged with Breach of the Peace. He was one of two men arrested on the same night. Both were later freed and are expected to appear in court at a later date.
Councillor Nicol who holds SBCs education and lifelong learning portfolio was stopped shortly before midnight in the Salamander Street area of Leith. Councillor Nicol has been the councillor Kelso and District since 1999.
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police in Edinburgh told The Southern: "Following complains by local residents about motorists in the Leith area an initiative has been launched. "Last night (Tuesday) two motorists were stopped by police and after being questioned were charged and reports are going to the procurator fiscal."
Last week more than 70 residents demonstrated with placards as they marched from their homes to Leith Police Station. They claim that at certain times the area has become a no-go area for local women. Police now have an arrangement with the local procurator fiscal that motorists spotted in the area three or more times will be stopped for questioning.
Mr Nicol was not available for comment and Lib Dem council leader John Scott said it was not an issue he would comment on at this stage.