Vandals target Water of Leith centre allotments

Bob Will assesses the damage after his allotment shed and beehives were set alight. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Bob Will assesses the damage after his allotment shed and beehives were set alight. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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the Water of Leith visitor centre has been left counting the cost after it was trashed during a wrecking spree in which allotments were also targeted.

The charity-run centre in Lanark Road faces a £2000 bill after windows were smashed, while allotments at Saughton Mains have also been ruined.

More than a quarter of its 180 plots were targeted, with sheds broken into, greenhouses smashed and toolboxes prized open. Three huts at the site were also completely destroyed in deliberately sparked fires.

Peter Shaw, the Saughton Mains Allotment Association’s site representative, said he suspected a gang had vaulted over the 7ft fence to trash the plots.

He said: “When there’s no huts left, what’s next? What if they set fire to a factory or units? Folk might say ‘it’s just a shed’ but it’s got your tools, and it’s so mindless that they are absolutely trashing some of them. To me, it should be treated as 53 [separate] incidents.”

Mr Shaw said he was now in talks with the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Associations about more robust security.

A child’s scooter was thrown through one large window at the Water of Leith centre, while another was damaged after small stones were thrown at it during a separate incident.

Helen Brown, manager of the conservation trust, said the repeat attacks were frustrating and costly.

“It looks awful but also it looks like we are under attack,” she said. “When the big window was smashed, it cost over £1000 to replace.

“The other two were smaller doorways, which cost £350 a pop. With boarding-up costs, it was at least £2000 damage.”

She added: “The Water of Leith walkway connects the two and it’s out of public view, from Lanark Road down to the allotments.

“We are trying to engage people to come in and find out about the river, but it looks vandalised.”

The trust has also been in touch with local councillor Gavin Corbett, to ask if the city council can install CCTV.

Police urged anyone with 
information to come forward.

Chief Inspector Stevie Dolan said: “We do not currently have information to suggest that the incidents at Saughton Mains Allotments and those reported at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust Centre are linked. However, we will keep an open mind and intend to pursue all lines of inquiry.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com