Police Scotland have launched a criminal investigation into the allegedly illegal and controversial demolition of a historic Dundee mill.
Wallace Craigie Works, also known as Halley’s Mill, was razed to the ground in May by Craigie Estates, who claimed that the crumbling building was dangerous.
However, Dundee City Council argued the firm did not obtain proper consent to demolish the B-listed building and began a probe into the issue.
The matter is now in the hands of the police, who confirmed it was passed on to them to deal with as a criminal investigation.
However, they were unable to confirm whether the alleged offence has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The matter is still under investigation and inquiries are continuing.”
If the case leads to a prosecution, the owners could face a fine of up to £50,000 and two years in prison.
Craigie Estates has maintained the former mill had to be demolished as a matter of public safety, citing a number of break-ins, incidents of vandalism and the building’s derelict state as justification.
The company also said it had secured a building warrant from the council in April which secured rights to bring the building down.
According to the local authority, the process of gaining a demolition warrant under building standards is separate to that required under planning legislation to demolish a listed building.
The mill dates back to 1836 as a flax manufacturing base, later expanding into jute production.
After the First World War, the mill’s fortunes declined and it was devastated by two fires in the 40s and 50s, before being rebuilt in the 1960s as a factory producing cloth for carpets.
However, with the wider decline of industry in Dundee starting from the 1980s, Halley’s Mill was left vacant and has gradually rotted away.
There have been repeated efforts to develop the mill into flats, but those did not come to fruition.