A POLICE probe has been launched after a newly-built community building was torched by vandals.
Volunteers from the Grove Community Garden in Fountainbridge have been left devastated after their hand-crafted greenhouse was reduced to ashes.
The structure, completed just five months ago, was targeted shortly before 5pm on Thursday and was soon engulfed in flames. Three teenagers were seen in the gardens and police have urged witnesses to come forward.
The greenhouse had been built by volunteers, including children, from recycled materials and contained hundreds of seedlings.
Stan Reeves of the garden committee described the incident as “upsetting”, adding: “You do something for the community only to have it destroyed. Lots of people helped to build it, including kids, and it was quite a treasured possession.
“It was quite artistic and made from recycled materials. It was an attractive structure, not just a shed.
“Ordinary people have put in such a lot of effort to make something beautiful and useful for the community and it’s really sad to see people disrespect and abuse it.”
It is understood that the teenagers broke into a vintage lorry owned by local artist Sarah Marshall which is based permanently on the site.
She said that stained glass windows had been smashed and that someone had rifled through her sketches.
Green councillor Gavin Corbett spotted the fire as he cycled along the canal towpath and phoned the fire service which attended immediately although the hut was rapidly engulfed by flames.
He said: “Over the last two or three years the Grove Community Garden has been such a positive presence in the Fountainbridge area so it’s a bit of a blow when something like this happens, especially if it turns out to have been arson.
“However, the community of gardeners there is such a can-do and creative bunch of people that I know they’ll bounce back and the garden will continue to thrive.”
A police spokeswoman said that inquiries into the fire were ongoing and urged anyone with information to contact them.