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NewsScottish NewsRoyal wedding venue favoured haunt of drug addicts

Royal wedding venue favoured haunt of drug addicts

THE Scottish church where Zara Phillips is expected to tie the knot this summer is a haven for drug addicts and drunks.

Canongate Kirk, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, is rumoured to be the venue for the wedding of the Queen’s granddaughter and her ruby star fiancé Mike Tindall.

The wedding is set to take place on Saturday, 30 July and will boast a guest list of royals, celebrities and sports stars.

But what the Royals may not be aware of is that the church’s graveyard is a venue favoured by drug addicts and drunks.

Two empty vodka bottles, around a dozen empty cans of cider and lager and a discarded condom were found on the grounds last Thursday morning.

There is also a bin for used drug needles inside one of the tombs and an average of 90 syringes are collected from it every month.

Julie Logan, of the Save Our Old Town community group, said that the situation had improved with the introduction of the needle bin but that there was still a problem with rough sleepers.

She added: “If it’s dark you would not go away down the bottom end where there’s no lights but in the daytime I walk my dog and take my bairn to run around in there.”

Councillor Robert Aldridge, the City of Edinburgh Council’s environment leader, said: “The council will be working closely with the police to make sure that Canongate Kirkyard is looking its best for the happy occasion.”

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine, said that the couple would not let the problems spoil their big day.

He said: “The Queen uses Canongate Kirk  most years when she is in Edinburgh – it’s the local church for the Palace of Holyroodhouse.”

The marriage of Princess Anne’s daughter will be the second royal celebration to take place this year with Prince William and Kate Middleton set to tie the knot on 29 April.

Canongate Kirk has not been officially announced as the venue but prior wedding bookings have been cancelled and the Palace of Holyroodhouse will be closed that weekend.

Cherith Harrison and Gregg Walter, both 27, from Edinburgh had booked their wedding at Canongate Kirk in the city on 30 July.

But the couple received a call from Rev Neil Gardner asking if they would release it for the Palace.

Despite months of planning, Cherith’s dad Robert Harrison insisted that it was not a hard decision to make.

He said: “We were happy to accept so it hasn’t caused any real hassle.”

The couple have now been relocated to nearby Greyfriars Kirk and will have their reception at The Signet Library.

Mr Harrison, managing director of a car dealership in Peebles, added: “Cherith is absolutely delighted. We went up and saw Greyfriars Kirk and it’s lovely.”

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