A weekly newspaper reporter witnessed a fight between two rival gangs while shadowing undercover police officers at a fast food restaurant.
Lennox Herald journalist Tara Fitzpatrick reported on the “shock” felt by customers and staff after seeing the altercation at a McDonald’s branch in Dumbarton.
The Herald had asked to send a reporter to accompany plain clothes police at a retail park on which the restaurant sits, where groups of up to 40 teenagers have been causing problems recently.
Tara’s account of the flash point provided a splash for the Herald this week, with the paper’s photographer providing pictures from the scene.
Tara told HTFP: “I sat with three police officers in the middle of the restaurant as they watched different groups of teenagers who were spread across the restaurant.
“The cops were communicating via radio with others in the area who had spotted the gangs across Dumbarton and we chatted about this, with me taking notes on my phone.
“A fight suddenly broke out near the doorway between to two teenage boys. The officers jumped up and quickly ran over and I was given a clear view of the situation by standing at the side. I also picked up on the shock of customers and staff.
“Our photographer was waiting outside and was able to get pictures of the fight. It was good to be able to see first hand the problems facing local people and police.”
Herald editor Linzi Watson added: “As a local paper at the heart of the community it is our duty to get involved. On a story like this, reporting from afar was never going to do it justice.
“When tackling stories on our patch, we make it our business to get out there and speak to those involved – this is more important than ever.”