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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
Polling clerk tells of 'bedlam'
Workers inspect the damaged ballot papers
Workers inspect the damaged ballot papers at the station
A polling station clerk has described the scenes of terror as a man destroyed ballot boxes with a golf club and tore up voting papers.

The incident happened at Carrick Knowe Church on Saughton Road North, Edinburgh, on Thursday evening.

A clerk told BBC Scotland that women and children were hysterical and staff retreated to another room during the attack, which lasted about 10 minutes.

A 36-year-old man is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday.

The clerk, who asked to remain anonymous, recalled how the man cast his vote and left the station.

He returned with a golf club at about 2030 BST and "systematically destroyed" ballot boxes, she said.

'Absolute bedlam'

"It was absolute bedlam. Women and children were hysterical.

"I honestly don't know how they can seriously say it's an accurate count from that station."

The station was closed for approximately three-quarters of an hour, the clerk added.

"We were absolutely petrified and we were told we had to open again."

Count delayed

The arrested man has been charged with breach of the peace, vandalism and offences relating to damaging ballot boxes and voting papers.

Carrick Knowe is in the Edinburgh West constituency, where the Liberal Democrats won more than 40% of the vote in 2003 with the Conservatives second on just over 25%.

Election officials later said about 100 papers had been ripped.

The count at Ingliston was delayed while workers attempted to tape the torn pieces back together so that they could be included in the overall tally.

Ballot papers are being counted by hand


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