Musselburgh Racecourse is scrambling to get in shape for its biggest day of the year after a group of youths caused thousands of pounds’ worth of damage during a spate of vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
A sell-out crowd of around 10,000 is expected to descend on the racecourse ahead of Ladies Day on Saturday, however damage caused to fencing surrounding the course has left organisers in a race against time to get the venue up to scratch.
Locals say a group of almost 50 teenagers also left dozens of empty beer cans and a number of smashed glass bottles at the nearby Musselburgh Lagoons site, while neighbours said they had been subjected to “intimidating behaviour”.
Posting on Facebook, one resident said she was “fed up with the constant vandalism” while another described the youths as “out of control”.
There were reports of up to 150 youths gathering on the nearby Ash Lagoons earlier in the evening.
Musselburgh Racecourse chief executive Bill Farnsworth confirmed the latest incident was one of a number of acts of vandalism at the course over recent weeks, which had to date cost several thousand pounds.
He said: “Vandalism is frustrating and the costs mount up over the summer months. Local residents are very good in raising the alarm or notifying the police if they see any unusual activity.
“We would appeal for anyone with knowledge of the latest acts of vandalism to come forward and provide that information to the police so that we may deter similar incidents.”
Councillor Stuart Currie said he was “concerned” by the complaints of underage drinking as the cause of the vandalism.
He said: “At the moment, they are vandalising the racecourse, but if they start damaging people’s private property, that’s obviously a major concern for me.”
“We don’t want a situation where someone has had a wing mirror taken off their car or another item of their property damaged when we’ve had the chance to nip this in the bud.
“Similarly, it’s important to establish whether these youngsters managed to access alcohol whilst underage. We have a strict policy in East Lothian regarding the sale of alcohol to those under 18 and we want to put a stop to that as soon as possible.”