Nicola Sturgeon has said she “unreservedly and unequivocally” condemns attacks against a Scottish Conservative councillor whose house and cars have been targeted again.
Graeme Campbell’s family home in South Lanarkshire was targeted for the third time last weekend and he suspects it is linked to organised crime.
At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay revealed the councillor believes he now has “no option but to quit politics”.
Police believe the blaze at Campbell’s property in Fortrose Gardens, Strathaven, which was started in the early hours of Saturday morning, is suspicious although no arrests have yet been announced.
Two cars were set on fire and the blaze spread to the house, causing significant damage before it was extinguished by firefighters after the family escaped unharmed.
Asking the First Minister to “condemn organised crime mob rule in Scotland”, Findlay said: “The family home of councillor Graeme Campbell has been targeted on three occasions.
“The most recent attack came last weekend when his cars and home were torched.
“Graeme and his wife count themselves lucky to have survived.
“He believes these cowardly attacks are linked to organised crime and he tells me that he now has no option but to quit politics.”
Sturgeon responded: “I don’t just unreservedly condemn organised crime, I unreservedly and unequivocally condemn the attacks on councillor Campbell and his wife.
“I can’t imagine what we have been through facing these attacks and I’m sure the thoughts of everybody – across not just the chamber but across the country – are with them and I want to send him and his wife, a message of solidarity from me and from my party today.
“These matters have to be treated with the utmost seriousness. Nobody, for whatever reason, should feel that they have no choice but to leave politics or to abandon any part of their lives because of threats or attacks from organised crime or anywhere else.
“It is for the police to investigate and hopefully bring to justice those who have perpetrated these attacks and I offer my full support to the police and the actions they will be taking to do that.
“But for the purposes of today, I want to reiterate that message of solidarity to councillor Campbell and his family.”
In the wake of the latest fire, Findlay, who is the party’s shadow community safety minister, said: “Councillor Campbell and his wife could have been killed in this disgusting and cowardly attack.
“They are understandably devastated. These are decent, law-abiding people and it is the third time their home has been targeted.
“I will be seeking assurances from the Scottish Government, Crown Office and Police Scotland that this attack is investigated to the fullest possible extent.
“There must be zero-tolerance towards any attack of this nature. Organised criminals prey on communities across Scotland. Fire is indiscriminate and even where the intent is to intimidate, it can kill.”
Findlay earlier wrote on Twitter that “it took 40+ min for police to attend” the incident.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm police officers were dealing with two serious and ongoing incidents when the call was received.
“Police were advised those involved were safe and officers attended as quickly as possible.
“We are engaging and supporting those affected by this incident and are currently appealing for any information which could assist the investigation.”
Officers said a man in dark clothing was seen in the area around the time the fire started.
Detective chief inspector Martin McGhee added: “I am appealing to anyone who may have been in the area around the time of the incident. Did you notice anything suspicious or see anyone acting oddly?
“I would ask any motorists or taxi drivers with dashcam devices to check their footage as the device may have captured images which could assist our investigation. Any small piece of information could assist us in identifying who is responsible for this attack.”
Anyone with information can contact police by phoning 101.