Dark clouds gather after sundial stolen once again

Emma Swann and Kirsty McLaren with the sundial. Picture: Greg Macvean
Emma Swann and Kirsty McLaren with the sundial. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A COMMEMORATIVE sundial that was ripped from its plinth last May – before mysteriously reappearing a fortnight later – has again been stolen by scrap metal thieves.

The historic bronze sculpture, erected in Loanhead to mark the Queen’s visit to the town 50 years ago, was snatched some time between Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is thought thieves used hand tools to prize the ornate 7lb sundial from its base at Loanhead Memorial Park.

Police were alerted to the theft by a member of the public and are appealing for information to help recover the memorial.

A council spokesperson was unable to provide an estimate for the scrap metal value of the item, but said it had “historic” and sentimental value for Loanhead.

Council leader Derek Milligan said he was “hugely disappointed” to learn that the item had been targeted again, particularly given the relief of seeing it returned and following its recent refurbishment.

“There was a public outcry the last time it went and I can’t imagine there won’t be the same reaction again. We are helping the police and we hope for the sundial’s swift return.”

The monument was designed by Andrew Crombie, who worked at a local engineering firm, to commemorate the visit of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Loanhead in 1961, and was attached to a stone pedestal which has an inscription and the town’s coat of arms.

Local Pc Alastair MacKintosh said: “This is the second time that the sundial has been stolen and those responsible clearly have no regard for the impact this theft will have on the local community.

“The memorial park is a hub for local sport and recreation in Loanhead and the sundial is an attractive installation for visitors. If anyone has information that can assist officers with their enquiries into this theft they are asked to contact police immediately.”

Last May, the News reported how the sundial, which was gifted to the area by local Provost George Hunter, had been swiped by thieves and fears were raised it would be sold on for its scrap value.

Weeks later, the memorial reappeared and it was thought the culprit may have had second thoughts after realising the impact of their actions.

The sundial was taken away to be cleaned and restored in September by Midlothian firm Mactaggart Scott.

It was reinstalled within three months and said to be looking as “good as new”.