Security at an Invergordon school has been stepped up after a third fire broke out in the grounds.
Over the last year, fire crews have been called to Park Primary School three times – and twice in the last month.
In one incident, 11 fire crews worked to contain the flames for more than five hours to contain the flames – managing to save about 80% of the building.
And last night, firefighters were called back to the Albany Road site after another blaze broke out.
An investigation has now been launched, and Highland Council has revealed it has stepped up security at the site to prevent further incidents.
Community urged to be vigilant
Local councillor Maxine Morley-Smith urged the community to be vigilant.
She said: “It’s regrettable that someone appears to be targeting the school.
“We don’t yet know what caused the previous fire. Youths were apparently seen running away from the scene of two small outdoor fires last night. Clearly these need to be identified.
“I think Covid is having a detrimental effect on some people as this is certainly not usual behaviour for Invergordon.
“The security has been stepped up now but I ask the community to be vigilant.”
Three fire crews from Invergordon and Dingwall were sent to the school at about 6.15pm last night.
Firefighters spent 45 minutes extinguishing the flames using two hose reel jets and four breathing apparatus.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “The security guard on site at Park Primary, Invergordon, responded to an incident involving a small fire.
“The matter was immediately reported to police and fire who attended and made the area safe.
“Highland Council is assisting the police with their investigation. If anyone has any information please report this to the Police.”
A tumultuous year for the Invergordon school
It is the third time the school has been hit by a fire since last March.
Around 200 children and pupils were evacuated in February last year after a fire ripped through the foundations off the historic building.
Students have been attending lessons at Invergordon High School since the blaze, which led to the demolition of the school’s charred remains.
Police have now issued an appeal for information to help find those responsible for the latest fires.
Detective Sergeant Eoin Coull said: “Fortunately no one was injured and the fire was quickly contained and extinguished by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“We believe this fire was started deliberately and I would urge anyone who saw anything suspicious, particularly people within the school grounds to get in touch.
“This is not the first wilful fire raising at this location and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. Officers are working to find those responsible.”
Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.