South Scotland

Jedburgh bus sugar attacks 'industrial sabotage'

An attack on a Borders bus depot where sugar was put into fuel tanks has been described as "industrial sabotage".

Three coaches had their windscreens smashed inside the locked premises of MacEwan's Garage in Jedburgh and an attempt was made to flood the building.

Two days later, a repaired bus on a service journey ground to a halt and it emerged sugar was in the tank.

The Dumfries-based firm said the cost to the company was at least £12,000.

The incidents took place at the depot in the Borders last week.

The three coach windscreens were smashed on the Tuesday night.

It was discovered fuel had been put in the bus tank on Thursday. An inspection of the two buses still in the depot, which employs six people, revealed they had suffered a similar fate.

All three vehicles had diesel worth £800 flushed from their tanks and were fitted with new filters before they could be used again.

Depot manager Donald Cameron said: "The garage was locked but clearly not well enough to deter the person or persons who perpetrated this vicious and senseless attack on our vehicles.

"To smash the bonded glass on the buses would have required iron bars.

"This was no random attack because another coach operated by another firm and parked close to our depot was not touched and there is no evidence of any malicious damage outwith our premises."

He said it was "hard to describe" how upsetting the incidents had been for staff.

"The cash cost to our company is a conservative £12,000," he added.

Dumfries-based MacEwan's has had a permanent site in Jedburgh since 2009 when it won a Scottish Borders Council contract.

One of the contracts is up for re-tendering with bids due to be submitted by Monday.

'Vital service'

Local councillor Len Wyes, who represents Jedburgh, said: "This was an absolutely terrifying incident which does nothing for the town's reputation.

"This was not just an attack on buses but on the jobs of local people and an important business which runs a vital service.

"I would issue an appeal to the people of Jedburgh who are appalled at this blatant act of industrial sabotage to come forward if they know anything."

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said they were investigating the theory that the culprit or culprits may have revisited the scene of the crime by returning the day after smashing the windows to put sugar in the tanks.

He added: "These premises appear to have been deliberately targeted and we are treating it as a serious incident."

The spokesman appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious at the depot in the town's Edinburgh Road on the nights of 22 March and 23 March to come forward.

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