Peebles RFC chairman Stevie Matthews on how to tackle crime

A RUGBY chief believes his sport can help reduce anti-social behaviour in Peebles.

Residents have expressed concerns over vandalism and litter in the town in recent months.

But Peebles RFC chairman Stevie Matthews predicts that some of those problems will be addressed if more youngsters pick up the egg-shaped ball.

Mr Matthews told the Peeblesshire News: “It’s about getting these lads to have some kind of structure and purpose so they’re not hanging around during the weekend and drinking and damaging places.

“If we can give them a focus with rugby – or other sports – then that’s something we’re very keen on.”

Mr Matthews, a retired police officer, took up his new role at the club in May, replacing Richard Johnson.

Among Mr Matthews’ ambitions is for Peebles RFC to continue its youth development programme, helping to make sure the club is full of local players.

Developing young players could have added benefits for the town, according to Mr Matthews.

“They’re not going out on a Friday night because they’ve got a game on the Saturday,” said the 59-year-old.

“This is how I grew up. It was that focus that in two days’ time, I’m playing – so I’ve got to be fit, I’ve got to be healthy.

“These health-conscious values can lead them on to possibly be playing first-team rugby for Peebles and then they’re in the shop window and can be signed by another team.”

Mr Matthews added: “It’s about engaging with the youngsters and channelling their anger or frustration onto the rugby pitch – and not smashing bottles at Hay Lodge Park.”

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