POLICE were sent out to contractors carrying out repairs at a Selkirk mansion house.

But the dry rot specialists were found to be working in compliance with strict lockdown rules.

New regulations brought in this week, though, have seen the tradesmen down tools until the end of the coronavirus crisis.

Concerns had been raised by many locals over continued building work taking place at the Haining over the past fortnight.

And officers were called as walkers on the estate believed lockdown and social-distancing rules were being breached.

Although the contractor, which is part of a major national company, and the various sub-contractors had been working within initial Scottish and UK government lockdown guidelines over the past fortnight, a tightening of the rules brought in this week has to led to the repairs being suspended.

A spokesperson for the Haining Trustees told us: "The principle contractor was working in compliance with government guidance.

"The contractor has been regularly in contact with the government as well as Trustees of the Haining, and we got the message this week to say that they will now have to come off site."

Dry rot was discovered in the 230-year-old mansion during preparatory work for major internal renovations earlier this year.

And the specialist contractor had to be drafted in to prevent the devastating wood decay spreading to other parts of the building.

Due to the extent of the required work, Trustees signed over control of the historic house to the principal contractor before the coronavirus epidemic reached the UK.

The Trustees' spokesperson added: "Due to the extent of the required work inside the house, not even the Trustees are allowed in until the job is completed."

The Haining and its 160-acre estate was gifted 'for the benefit of the community of Selkirkshire and the wider public' following the death of owner Andrew Nimmo Smith in 2009.

Over the past decade a Trust with the help of an army of volunteers have maintained and improved the house and estate.

And it has become a highly sought-after destination for weddings, parties and fundraising events.

Following extensive improvements to the grounds, as well as conversion of the former stable block into artists' studios, internal renovations were planned for the main Category A Listed house.

Update, 1.18pm, April 7, 2020:  A statement has been submitted to this newspaper by the Trustees of The Haining Charitable Trust.

It reads: "Work was commissioned on The Haining House prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

"A principle Contractor was appointed by the Trust and management of the site handed over in compliance with the law.

"The work being undertaken on the Haining is to provide the necessary services to allow essential repairs to safeguard the fabric of the building.

"Until the afternoon of the 6th of April when Scottish Government guidance was updated, the Principle contractor was adhering to the government guidance and observing social distancing on travel and whilst on site ...

"The advice was then updated by the Government on the afternoon of the 6th of April therefore the Principal contractor has now advised the Trust that they shall be postponing works on the property until the new guidance is available.

"The Trustees are saddened by the attacks on one of their members as they are both untrue and personal.

"Michelle Ballantyne was kept informed of the decisions that were being made but was not directly involved in the day to day management of the works as this was overseen by Ian Bradshaw who is the Trustee with responsibility for estate management.

"The grounds of the Haining estate will remain accessible to the public at present and we hope that the people of Selkirk will continue to enjoy the benefits of the work we have delivered so far.

"If members of the public have any further concerns or complaints the Trustees would be grateful if rather than using social media they would write formally to the Trust c/o Ian Bradshaw, Trustee, The Haining House, Selkirk, TD7 5LR."