Community centre torched just weeks from opening

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Detectives are on the hunt for man who set fire to a new community centre in Gorebridge – causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

The fire was started deliberately and police have appealed for help in catching the man responsible.

The suspect is described as a white man, in his mid-to-late teens, of skinny build, with short dark hair and a fringe.

He was wearing a long-sleeved top with a distinctive pattern, dark-coloured skinny jeans, white trainers and carrying a black rucksack.

Dalkeith CID Detective Sergeant Dave Reilly said: “This mindless act has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and delayed the construction of a centre which is being built to benefit the local community.

“Anyone who may have seen suspicious behaviour in the area, or who recognises the description of the suspect, is asked to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

The eagerly anticipated Gorebridge Beacon is being built by the Gorebridge Community Development Trust with support from Midlothian Council.

Business manager Jane Burridge said: “This is a much-needed and long-awaited facility. Gorebridge is an area of social deprivation and has limited community facilities – the community have fought for eight years to get the money for this building. It’s absolutely devastating.”

John Blair, director of resources at Midlothian Council, said: “To hear about such a damaging fire just six weeks to completion is a huge blow.

“The council recognises the impact the fire will have and we’ll continue to assist in any way we can.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk