‘Devastated’ over blaze

LOANHEAD: Loanhead Community Learning Centre. Fire damage to community garden. Irene Hogg & PC Ross Young

LOANHEAD: Loanhead Community Learning Centre. Fire damage to community garden. Irene Hogg & PC Ross Young

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Police are appealing for witnesses after a suspicious fire at a Loanhead community garden caused around £2,000 worth of damage.

The incident happened around 9.30pm on Friday at the Loanhead Community Learning Centre in Mayburn Walk, destroying a section of the community garden, including a 10ft willow hut used as an outdoor classroom.

Firefighters took almost 15 minutes to extinguish the fire, which had been started when tyres, used as planters, had been set alight.

Centre manager Irene Hogg said it was lucky the wind was blowing away from the recently-opened £1.2 million Kabin: “I don’t think whoever did this realises the consequences of their actions. We are devastated. It has taken five years to establish that willow structure. It was one of the favourite areas in our community garden for the children to learn in. They were just so upset when they came in today and saw the destruction. I can’t believe people would do this considering the amount of effort which has gone into establishing our community garden. The majority of our young people and children in our community

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had taken ownership of the garden and had been working with us on this for years.

“We have a very active gardening gang which won an award this year for the work done in the garden.”

The fire completely destroyed the willow hut, used by nursery and afterschool children, and damaged a number of well-established trees and plants.

Police want to speak to anyone who was in the area and saw anything suspicious. Officers are also keen to trace three youths seen in the area prior to the fire being reported. They are asked to come forward and assist with enquiries.

Call Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.