Bins set alight inside ancient Wemyss cave

Volunteer Sue Hampsted at the Well Cave. Pic by George McLuskie.

Volunteer Sue Hampsted at the Well Cave. Pic by George McLuskie.

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Volunteers have hit out at mindless vandals who set a huge fire in one of the historic Wemyss Caves over the last week.

The mess was discovered on Monday by hardworking locals who try to preserve the ancient markings and historical importance of the five caves on the coast of East Wemyss.

They believe vandals have dragged at least five wheelie bins, all full of rubbish, into the Well Cave.

The bins were set alight and have caused considerable smoke damage inside the cave and on the outer walls.

Sue Hempstead, one of the volunteers, said it was a ‘shock’ to discover what had happened.

She explained: “All that was left to indicate what had burnt were the metal axles and the impression of the wheels along with some very charred remains of household waste and a great deal of melted plastic.

“Thankfully, none of the more important carvings were in that part of the cave – just as well because there would be nothing left of them now.”

She added: “Incidents like this are heartbreaking to those of us who care about the caves and the precious ancient carvings they contain. They are such an important part of our heritage but this kind of deliberate vandalism jeopardizes their very existence.”

It’s not the first time the caves have been targeted by fire-setters. In both 1986 and 1987, Jonathan Cave was the location for two car fires, one which destoyed an important swan drawing.

Since then Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society has worked tirelessley to preserve the caves, and offer tours to those interested in finding out more.

The tours will continue as planned this year, and the next takes place on April 10. Please arrive at the environmental centre at East Wemyss Primary School before 3pm.