Vandals target firefighters as they battle supicious blaze

One teenager has been arrested and at least two others are wanted by police after firefighters battling a suspicious blaze at a derelict Edinburgh school had their equipment destroyed by vandals.

Emergency crews were called to the old Craigroyston High School at around 8.30pm on Wednesday and found the building well alight.

A number of nearby streets had to be cordoned off and 50 firefighters worked through the night to bring the blaze under control.

However, as firefighters battled flames at the back of the building on Muirhouse Avenue, vandals slashed eight hoses and destroyed the tyres on an officer's car before running off, leaving the equipment seriously damaged.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "It was a large blaze in a number of buildings including single-storey and three-storey buildings at the old Craigroyston High School.

"Eight lengths of hoses were slashed. That slowed down the process of tackling the fire. The consequences could have been much more serious. This kind of act is unacceptable."

One 14-year-old boy has now been charged in connection with the fire and a report will be sent to the children's reporter. However, police are still trying to track down others thought to be responsible for the fire and for the vandalism, and officers are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Inspector Sandy Boyd said: "The fire and the subsequent damage to the hoses are quite simply mindless acts of vandalism, which required significant resources from the fire service and the police.

"We are keen to speak to anyone who has any information that can help us track down those responsible, and I would urge people to get in touch with us if they saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area of old Craigroyston High School before the fire broke out.

"In particular, we want to trace the three male youths who were seen close to the scene, as they may have information that can help us.

"Similarly, anyone who witnessed the subsequent vandalism to the fire hoses, or who has any information that can assist our inquiries, should come forward as a matter of urgency."

Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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