EDINBURGH’S Food and Flea Market has suffered a devastating fire just days before the Christmas shopping rush begins.
The early morning blaze took hold inside the Sibbald Walk venue just off the Royal Mile at around 1.30am and took firefighters two hours to ensure it was properly extinguished.
It destroyed several stalls inside the trading areas which was left with timbers destroyed and smoke logged.
It’s owner revealed CCTV footage capture images of the sneak thief believed to have started the fire deliberately.
The footage - from a nearby hotel - has been handed to Police Scotland while other witnesses are believed to have seen him escaping the scene carrying stolen drink cartons.
But defiant owner Hal Prescott has vowed he and the traders will be back up and running in time for Friday’s first festive market day.
He said: “We’ve had a meeting with all the traders and said look, we can do this and try to fix things around the bits not affected, or we can try and smash it for Friday.
“They are all determined to go ahead, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
The market has been running since January, providing a city centre alternative to others, with flea traders doing a booming trade through summer especially.
They rotate monthly to ensure variety, with an emphasis on retro and vintage goods, local designers, music, books, clothing, craft and bric a brac.
Hal continued: “Thankfully nobody was harmed. We’d like to express our gratitude to the emergency services who responded brilliantly in the middle of the night.”
He revealed it could have been much worse, but joiners who worked on building the stalls had insisted on top quality wood and fire retardent materials for the construction.
And he added: “I’m glad they did. We’ll maybe look at some rearranging, but we aim to be back open at 10am as normal until 6pm.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene by a member of the public at 1.31am this morning due to flames tearing through two food stalls.
A spokesperson said; “Crews used two high pressure hose reels and two main jets to extinguish the fire. Nobody was injured and the main building was not affected by the fire.”
Police Scotland confirmed an investigation was under way at the site.