The doomed Kabin was hit by two fires on Saturday, one of which destroyed thousands of pounds worth of equipment for children with additional needs.
Police are investigating the fires in the Mayburn Walk area of Loanhead at around 8.20pm, with a wheelie bin and storage container both ablaze in the grounds of the Kabin, which the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service quickly extinguished.
The storage container fire also damaged the former Loanhead Community Learning Centre building, which is set for demolition with services moved to the new Loanhead Community Hub.
However, everything inside the secure container has been destroyed at a estimated cost of £10,000, shocking Loanhead After School Club (LASC) which still stored equipment there.
LASC CEO Irene Hogg said: “This is devastating for the after school club as we had a number of equipment stored in the container which included specialised bikes used by our additional support needs children.
“This is so sad and disappointing that anyone would do such mindless damage to our community assets.
“Everything stored in it is completely ruined. We are talking thousands of pounds worth of damage.
“There were bikes for children with disabilities, one bike was £800.
“We couldn’t bring them up to the new building yet so that’s why they were there.
“I’m very upset and saddened about the whole thing. The fact that it was a very secure unit we never thought this would happen. I think at the end of the day for all the bikes and equipment in there it could be as much as £10,000. We had taken years to raise the money to purchase those specialist bikes. ”
Kabin chairman Colin Beattie said: “It’s absolutely shocking, this is people damaging the local community, it’s just simply malicious.
“The damage at the Kabin building itself is minimal, it’s not impacted, but it could have been.
“To be honest I don’t know what to do to safeguard community assets from members of the community that want to damage them.”
The Kabin community centre is set to close after running into financial difficulty despite opening just seven years ago in its custom built home.
Inspector John Dryden of Penicuik Police Station: “This was a deliberate act that has caused considerable damage to property and goods.
“Children who rely on this specialist equipment have now been deprived of these resources that a charity have worked hard to secure for their benefit.
“Thankfully no one was injured and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were able to quickly extinguish the fire.
“We are appealing for anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the Loanhead area during the evening on Saturday or, similarly, anyone with information that can help us identify the culprits to come forward.”
Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Jim Muirhead said: “I’d urge anyone with any information to come forward. Destroying £10,000 of specialist play equipment is absolutely shocking, a huge blow to the children, staff and parents and it will have a major impact on pupils’ learning through play.
Anyone involved in this act of wanton destruction should be absolutely ashamed of themselves and should be held accountable for their actions.”
Those with information should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 4280 of 23 September, or report this anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.