- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The environmental activist group known as Tyre Extinguishers struck around 100 luxury SUVs in Edinburgh early this morning.
A team of at least three Tyre Extinguishers, a loose affiliation of demonstrators who let down tyres on gas-guzzling 4x4s to protest the pollution they emit, hit vehicles in the New Town, Marchmont and Hillside areas.
The direct action protesters say large vehicles are a disaster for the planet because they cause greenhouse gas emissions, health problems from air pollution, and danger on the roads.
The Tyre Extinguishers have hit New Town before and said "we’ll be back" after finding so many SUVs they ran out of leaflets, according to a statement released by the group.
A spokesperson said the “scale of disarmament” is an underestimate, as not all Tyre Extinguisher groups have been in touch with Tyre Extinguishers headquarters to say where and when they have taken action.
They added that it appeared Tyre Extinguishers’ actions have also taken place in the past seven days in Leith and Granton, and due to the leaderless nature of the movement, it was unknown how many people were taking action throughout the city.
The spokesperson added: "Politicians talk, we act. We will defend ourselves from air pollution, climate change and unsafe roads, and we urge others to join us.
“Edinburgh is a small city with good public transport. Nobody living in the centre of town needs to own one of these death machines."
Superintendent Mark Rennie of Police Scotland said: “We have received a number of reports of vehicle tyres being deliberately deflated in the Edinburgh area. This is a reckless and potentially dangerous act which could put drivers and road users at risk.
“Enquiries are ongoing and we would encourage members of the public to call us immediately if they see anyone acting suspiciously close to parked vehicles.
“I would also urge all drivers to check their vehicle before setting off and to contact the police on 101 should they suspect their vehicle has been tampered with.”
The Tyre Extinguishers movement also appears to have spread to other nations, with vehicles targeted in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the US states of Arizona and Colorado.
Activists urge followers to deflate tyres by forcing a small object – often a lentil – inside the air valve to hold it open until the wheel is flat.
But their methods are controversial and they have been accused of endangering drivers and sometimes “disarming” hybrid and electric vehicles.