Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 17:57 UK

Family evicted 'for racial abuse'

Sarah Hutton (Pic: Toby Williams)
Sarah Hutton was forced to move by Edinburgh City Council

An Edinburgh family has been evicted from their home following claims that they had racially abused their neighbours over a period of years.

Sarah Hutton, 36, and her five children were forced to move from their home in Wardieburn on Thursday after being accused of harassing other residents.

It is one of the first evictions on the basis of racial abuse and harassment secured by Edinburgh City Council.

The family has moved into private accommodation in Edinburgh.

Officials said incidents included extensive vandalism including damaging cars, smashing public toilets, kicking open stair doors and breaking door-entry systems, throwing stones and bricks at people and houses, smashing windows and threats and general abuse to neighbours.

One family was even forced to move from the area after they were subjected to years of racial abuse, racist graffiti and assault.

Praise should go to residents for standing up and giving evidence against these people despite fears they may have
Paul Edie
Edinburgh City Council

Before the family was evicted the council said it used "every resource available" to work on ways to improve behaviour and to "prevent nuisance".

The local authority said it had sent the tenant "numerous warning letters" and had organised joint visits from the council and the police on more than one occasion.

She was also offered support with tenancy issues from the council's neighbourhood support team.

However the council said in this case legal action was necessary due to the "serious nature of the complaints" and because the family made no effort to change their behaviour.

Paul Edie, Edinburgh City Council community safety leader, said: "This action sends a clear message that we will not tolerate any sort of racially motivated harassment.

"Praise should go to residents for standing up and giving evidence against these people despite fears they may have."

Ch Insp Denise Mulvaney, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "We take the issue of hate crime very seriously, and we believe the robust action taken in this case was the right thing to do and has resulted in the right outcome."

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