POLICE have issued householders in a Scottish city with posters discouraging “trick or treaters”.
The signs, which read “Sorry, no guisers. Thank you, have a lovely evening” were handed out by Lothian and Borders police ahead of Hallowe’en.
Police say the posters are designed to protect residents, particularly the elderly, against pranks.
Acting inspector Scott Meechan said the posters had been designed after speaking to the local communities and not in reaction to any activity in previous years.
He said: “We would encourage parents to speak to their children to ensure anyone going trick or treating acts sensibly and does not cause upset to other members of the community, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
“Tricks or pranks may seem like harmless fun to some people, but can cause distress to others. Behaviour such as throwing eggs or flour can also quickly cross the line from being anti-social into causing criminal damage.”
Midlothian provost Adam Montgomery said he sympathised with residents met by demands for “cash rather than fruit or sweets” but denied they could be setting themselves up as targets for pranksters.
He said: “I’ve not heard anything about problems with guisers at Hallowe’en. To be honest I think guising is dying a death compared to what it used to be when I was a boy.
“Kids nowadays would not want sweets or fruit like we used to get, they would want cash. I suppose there could be an issue if someone is quite generous and gives out 50p or a £1. They could end up with queues at their door.”
Deputy provost Margo Russell said she hoped that people would still take part in the tradition but said the posters were a better alternative to “spending the night with the lights off”.
Traditionally in Scotland, guisers are expected to perform a small act, such as a song, joke or poem to receive their treat, rather than the American custom of demanding a gift in exchange for not performing a prank.