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Bon Accord Baths group tells of disappointment as vandals strike in six-hour window between inspections

The main pool hall at Bon Accord Baths. Picture by Paul Glendell
The main pool hall at Bon Accord Baths. Picture by Paul Glendell

Vandals have again targeted a derelict swimming pool that a campaign group is working hard to restore.

The culprits got into Bon Accord Baths in Aberdeen last night by smashing a window into the gym, which has latterly been used for events and open days to support the restoration project.

Furniture was broken, newly installed hand sanitiser stations were ripped from the walls and fresh graffiti was sprayed by the poolside.

In a frustrating blow for Bon Accord Heritage, who are behind the plans to get the art deco building back into use, the culprits struck in between the patrols volunteers have been carrying out.

Bon Accord Heritage secretary Steven Cooper said: “We’ve been doing regular patrols, particularly over teatimes when we think people might be trying to force entry.

“Yesterday we’d been in three times, and between the second and third volunteer visits there must have been people accessing the building.

“We think it’s some time in the period between 2pm and 8pm.

“It’s just disappointing to see it’s ongoing.”

Police have said they were called around 9.05pm on Sunday evening and that inquiries are ongoing.

Public support

After the news was shared on the group’s Facebook page, an outpouring of help from supporters meant there have already been some positive developments.

Mr Cooper said: “The public are being very supportive of us, and we’ve been having tip-offs.

“We have actually got a name of an individual who had posted pictures to social media of the building in the dark, so that’s been passed on to Police Scotland to deal with.”

Police also sent a dog unit to the site last night, after there was an additional report of torchlight at around 10pm.

Mr Cooper added: “They are very aware and trying to support us with the situation, but obviously we need to catch people in the building.”

We take security seriously at Bon Accord Baths! Many thanks to Police Scotland’s dog unit for performing a full sweep of the building following our intruder reports this evening

Posted by Save Bon Accord Baths on Sunday, 20 December 2020

The police have since been informed about further damage done to the baths after midnight last night.

The latest break-ins demonstrates the difficulty of keeping such a large and complex building secure, particularly as the school Christmas holidays approach.

One of the worst periods for vandalism at the 80-year-old leisure centre, which closed in 2008, was the most recent school break in October.

Mr Cooper said: “Unfortunately, that was around the time we didn’t have access to the building for three weeks due to some building inspection work, so we weren’t patrolling it.

“When we got back there had been a fair bit of extra damage done which we’re still trying to recover from.

“The school holidays is a really difficult time for us, and that’s why we’ve been appealing to the public.

“If anyone is out having a daily walk in the Justice Mill Lane area, or lives and works in the area, can they please have a look round the sides of the baths for us and call the police if they see any evidence of windows open, people on the roof or any suspicious activity?”

Bon Accord Heritage is also asking for assistance from any local glazers or joiners who may be able to help repair the smashed window.

They can be contacted through the Save Bon Accord Baths Facebook page or via bonaccordbaths.org.uk

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