SENIOR police officers, and the Scottish Under-Secretary of State, Norman Buchan, had urged Easterhouse residents to keep clear of a local stretch of vacant ground between 7pm and 8pm that Saturday, July 13, 1968. Mr Buchan said this was in order “to give disarmament a chance.”

The idea of a weapons amnesty for the gangs of Easterhouse had come from a visit to the area three days earlier by the entertainer Frankie Vaughan. He met gang leaders on their home turf, having told the Evening Times that “I feel I can do some good because the boys like and respect me and know I am not just a do-gooder.”

On the Saturday morning, youths who were leaving on holiday deposited a cache of weapons with a social worker who was the link man between Vaughan and the gangs. The weapons included three 12-inch daggers and a hatchet.

Three binfuls of weapons were handed in at the amnesty (right). The Evening Times acknowledged it was at least a start, and that work could now begin on phase two of the plan, the building of a ‘gang hut’ centre in Easterhouse. Hugh Brown, Labour MP for Pollok, who witnessed the amnesty, said he believed it had achieved a real breakthrough, and would be giving Mr Buchan a report.

Read more: Herald Diary

The amnesty and Mr Vaughan’s high-profile visit were a welcome respite from the area’s reputation for gang violence. Indeed, the singer’s intervention, and heavier sentences handed down at the High Court in Glasgow, were said to have contributed to the quietest opening weekend of the Glasgow Fair that city police could remember.

Later in the month, four local gang leaders went to Blackpool for a successful ‘peace conference’ with Vaughan.