Vandals have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at a voluntary restoration project in one of Dundee’s oldest buildings.
A group of volunteers, led by former paratrooper Stuart Niven, have been renovating the former St David’s Masonic Hall, situated between the Nethergate and Yeaman Shore.
The site is to be transformed into a support centre and social club for veterans.
Stuart visited the building on Saturday after a few days off to discover the intricate and expensive lead work on the roof had been ripped off and damaged.
Labour of love
Stuart said: “I was shocked and really upset to discover this.
“I have reported the matter to the police.
“Given that all the work is carried out by volunteers and is a labour of love for them – many of whom are ex-servicemen – this is very upsetting.
“We have been putting our heart and soul into this project and now someone goes and does this – not only costing us money but setting back our work as this will have to be repaired and started again.”
He said the damage to the lead, which forms part of the new roof the volunteers are currently working on, amounts to around £4,000.
Stuart said that despite the lead being expensive none of it had been removed from the site, leading him to believe it was done with the sole intention of disrupting the work being carried out.
Months of work
Work on the building, which dates back to 1480, started last October, after it was bought from the Masonic Lodge.
Stuart said: “I kind of fell into this by accident.
“I came across the building and decided I wanted to try to save it. It is one of Dundee’s oldest building and has so much history attached to it.”
Once renovated, the building will become a veteran’s support centre, social club, historic tourism centre and public café.
It will also be preserved as a masonic lodge.
Stuart said: “I expect the work will take around three years.
“It’s listed as an endangered building and there have been one or two attempts in the past to renovate it but most of those have fallen through.
“I want to preserve the building mostly because of its historic value and interest and I really want to bring it back to life.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We were made aware shortly after 11.30am on Saturday, 15 May of damage to a property on Nethergate in Dundee.
“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”