Revellers were left disappointed last night after a planned Christmas lights switch-on in the Grassmarket was sabotaged by vandals.
The official switch-on illumination was cancelled after community safety officers from the city council discovered the lights had been tampered with.
Replacement lights could not be found in time and the plug was pulled on the event minutes before the ceremony.
Council staff are now viewing CCTV in an attempt to identify the culprits.
A spokeswoman said: “It’s very disappointing that what appears to be a deliberate act of vandalism has ruined the switch-on of the Christmas lights in the Grassmarket.
“We are currently examining CCTV footage to try and determine exactly what happened and will work to restore the lights as soon as possible.”
The lights switch-on was due to mark the start of the area’s Christmas promotion with a range of new shops and festive Saturday markets.
City Centre Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat said the cancellation of the switch-on was not just a disappointment but a huge blow to the community and the traders.
She said: “It’s really mean to vandalise these lights and a blow to a community which puts up with an awful lot.These lights were funded in the first place by the community, traders and residents’ organisations who do a huge amount.”
Last Sunday, an estimated 26,000 revellers turned out to watch cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy switch on the main city-centre Christmas lights, smashing predictions the Night Light event would attract around 18,000 spectators.
Hundreds of entertainers from schools and community groups put on shows at 12 stages in George Street.