22nd May 2018
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Broch vandals could be caught on camera

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By RYAN TAYLOR

HISTORIC Scotland will be asked to install CCTV cameras at Lerwick’s Clickimin Broch to help curb the wave of vandalism that has blighted the ancient monument.

Members of the town’s community council agreed to request the cameras after the agency proposed sending education officers to primary schools to inform pupils of the monument’s true significance.

Council members had hoped the gate and fence over the entrance of the broch could be made higher to help deter future incidents of vandalism. They put forward their request to Historic Scotland, which owns the site.
But the agency’s regional works manager, Gavin Douglas, said a larger fence would be “unsightly” and would “take away greatly from the setting of the monument and the approach for the visitor”.

In a letter to the community council’s clerk, Katrina Semple, he said education officers could be sent to primary schools to build up a fuller understanding of the broch.

“In even quite troublesome areas, such as Craigmillar in Edinburgh, this approach has given some very positive results,” he said.

“I have requested that they try a similar scheme at Sound and Bell’s Brae Primaries to see if this can also improve the situation.”

The suggestion was met with dismay at Monday’s community council meeting at the Town Hall.

Attending the meeting was Lerwick South member Jonathan Wills, who described Historic Scotland’s response as “a fairly unhelpful letter”.

He added: “This is a major national monument. The vandalism that is happening there is a disgrace and brings shame on Shetland.

“The bairns in Lerwick’s two primary schools are very well aware of the broch.

“We should ask Historic Scotland to install cameras there. If this was Edinburgh Castle or Holyrood Parliament they would be doing it.

“This shows total complacency and I propose we should write to Mr Douglas and ask him to reconsider and come up with a more effective suggestion.”

Fellow councillor Gussie Angus said visiting primary schools would fail to deal with the vandals causing havoc at the broch.

He said there was evidence that “substantial stones” had been shifted at the site, and said that “certainly wouldn’t be down to primary pupils”.

Historic Scotland’s custodianship of the Clickimin Broch has not been without controversy.

In recent months the agency rejected calls for a visitor centre and car park to be developed near the broch.

Lights around the broch are regularly smashed, with repairs totalling some £1,000 every two years.

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