AN award-winning community garden in Peebles has been attacked by vandals for the second time this year.

This time thugs slashed the polytunnel at the Peebles Community Action Network (Peebles CAN) garden. The structure was also burned with cigarettes, kicked and littered.

The green space is tended by more than 100 local volunteers each month, many of whom are children.

As we reported in April, the group was devastated when vandals struck their £6,000 yurt, just a month after it was installed.

Money for the yurt was provided by Tesco after Tweeddale shoppers selected the group to receive £10,000 through the store’s Bags of Help scheme.

The repairs to the yurt were paid for by 2017-2018 funders - the Climate Challenge Fund, for Peebles CAN's project 'Grow Cook Build Own'. 

Following a clean-up and weeks of hard work tending the garden over the summer, the project received a Peebles in Bloom Gold Award.

The accolade was presented in the town’s Burgh Hall at a ceremony in September.

Nichole Easton, community growing coordinator for Peebles CAN, told the Peeblesshire News: “The cold weather sees an increase in the night-time ‘visitors’ to the polytunnel, so we are regularly tidying up litter and cigarette ends – but this is intentional damage, and it keeps getting worse.

“We have always welcomed people to use this space and enjoy the garden – but not like this. Seedlings in seed trays are being used as ash-trays, fast-food, cigarettes and sparklers are being littered around the garden.

“We run six volunteer sessions per week, many of these are with children and it is not safe to have this mess. Now there are gaping holes in the polytunnel, and our plants in are suffering.

“Our volunteers work all year round in the community garden, to make this a pleasant and productive vegetable garden – it is a huge disappointment to see this damage. We have informed police of the vandalism and they are carrying out enquiries.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "We are aware of, and investigating, the recent damage caused to a community garden in Peebles and the Community Beat Officers and conducting local inquiries in the area to identify those responsible.

"Anyone with information is asked to come forward."