Graffiti vandals target ancient Wemyss caves

Wemyss Caves vandalism July 2016

Wemyss Caves vandalism July 2016

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Members of a Fife heritage group dedicated to preserving the Wemyss ancient caves are once again considering the impact of vandalism in the area.

Saves the Ancient Wemyss Caves Society (SWACS) member John Urquhart discovered the extensive graffiti at Jonathan’s Cave over the weekend, just hours before a school group were due to visit the Fife heritage site.

Words, intitials and symbols, including the anarchy symbol, had been marked on the walls of the historic cave, which dates back to Pictish times, using spray-paint, emulsion and chalk.

The damage was visible both inside and outside of the cave, with paint discovered on top of some of the ancient Pictish drawings.

It has prompted a shocked reaction on the group’s Facebook page, with members being asked not to try to clean it themselves as it might cause more damage.

The group is working with Historic Environment Scotland – the lead public body set up to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment – on how best to remove the graffiti.

Sue Hamstead, from SWACS, said: “We won’t know how difficult it will be to remove it all until their experts have looked at it – we can’t risk damaging the ancient carvings.

“There were a lot of children on my tour last Saturday, so it was very lucky that our volunteer managed to warn me before I took them down to Jonathan’s Cave.”

Jonathan’s Cave has been the subject of horrendous vandalism before, with the first incident – when a car was driven into the cave and set on fire – prompting the formation of SWACS back in 1986.

And just four months ago, a wheelie bin was dragged into the cave and set alight, causing terrible smoke damage.

The incident has been reported to the police and a spokesman confirmed they are investigating the issue.

If you have any information, you can call Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.