A INNERLEITHEN woman is leading calls for toilet charging to be scrapped after her grandson was locked in the local loos.

The grandmother described the boy's horror at being trapped inside the Victoria Park conveniences.

And how she was told by emergency call handlers to “put more money in” to free him.

The woman, who we agreed not to name, said: "First of all he put the money in and it didn’t work at all, then he put in another 30p got in and then couldn’t get out.

“I’ve often wondered about those toilets because there’s a sign on the outside and the inside saying if you’re stuck ring this number, which has always kind of reassured me.

“However, when I did ring the number because he was stuck I got told ‘just put more money in from the outside and that will open them’. I was astounded.

“At this point my grandson is getting quite anxious and panicking a bit.

"In the end that’s what I did. I thankfully had 50p, so I’d spent £1.10 to allow my grandson to go to the toilet."

Charging was introduced at a total of 27 public toilets across the Scottish Borders two years ago.

As well as failing to generate even close to the income expected, the 30p payments have remained widely unpopular with locals and visitors.

The angry grandmother added: "I called the company again when I got home because I was so cross.

"When I asked if I hadn’t had money, or had I been inside the toilet without a phone, how would I have got out, they could not give me answer.

"The bloke I spoke to the second time said he thinks that after about 15 minutes it opens itself.

"I’m now terrified of getting stuck in there.”

Innerleithen Community Council was told that the charging box at Victoria Park regularly fails to recognise when coins have been deposited.

Council leader Shona Haslam told the meeting that the decision for introducing charges was made before she was elected.

She said: " It’s one of those situations where we have it and it’s very difficult to get rid of it.

“I think 30p is a silly amount, it should be 20p or 50p. Why is it two coins, or even free."

As revealed in last week's Peeblesshire News a tendering process has begun for private companies to take over the running of the council's facilities for the next decade.

Councillor Haslam added: “Councillors will have to debate that and decide whether they want to take that forward.

"It’s an option that we are looking at because it might provide a better service in the future.”