THE question of muggings in desirable areas of Glasgow arose during a court hearing in 1978 as four Govan families fought eviction orders which followed compulsory purchase orders.

Protestors picketed Glasgow Sheriff Court (above) on September 26 as the families pleaded with a sheriff to be allowed to be rehoused within their own district. Sheriff Ian MacPhail heard that squatters were occupying some of the alternative accommodation offered by Glasgow District Council and that other houses on offer were unsuitable. The Central Govan Tenants’ and Residents’ Association warned that unless the council repaired the homes of another 18 families under imminent threat of eviction, there would be a rent strike.

The following month, one of the four families told Sheriff J. Irvine Smith that he was reluctant to take a house in another Govan street because of its gang violence. A lawyer for the tenants said the incidence of violence was a suitable argument in law to justify refusal of another house. “This is a very thin argument,” the sheriff retorted. “You cannot walk in Buchanan Street, you cannot walk in what are regarded in certain circles as desirable, without running the risk of being mugged.” He added: “I have had countless people in that witness box who have been mugged in streets among the best villas in this city. When you go across Buchanan Street on a Friday or Saturday night, you do so at your peril.”