Four teenage boys have been charged in connection with a fire, which destroyed a derelict building in a Moray village.
Two 13-year-olds, a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old have been tracked down by police, in the aftermath of the blaze at the derelict Glenisla House in Newmill.
Following the fire at the historic property, local residents revealed it had become used as a drinking den for youths.
Last night, Rhona Patterson, chairwoman of Newmill Community Association, expressed shock at the news.
She said: “It’s sad to hear they are such young kids. I obviously don’t know their circumstances, how it came about or what happened, but it’s quite tragic really.
“It must be sad for them and sad for their parents too.”
Mrs Patterson added: “As with any investigation, I am glad the police have managed to find who might be responsible – the main thing though is that nobody was hurt.”
Yesterday, police confirmed the teenagers, who have been charged with fire-raising, would be reported to the youth justice management unit due to their age.
More than 20 firefighters attended the scene in Newmill shortly after midnight on January 5 and battled the blaze for more than four hours.
Only a charred shell is left of the historic 19th-century home, which had been earmarked for regeneration by the community association in an ambitious project.
Although the building had been derelict for decades, there was renewed hope – before the fire – that it could be brought back into use.
Fire crews confirmed that the flames moved up through the building into the ceiling, which was completely destroyed in the incident.
Units from Huntly, Keith and Fochabers, as well as a height vehicle from Aberdeen, were all called after locals spotted the blaze beginning to rip through the building.
Detective Inspector Norman Stevenson said: “I would like to thank the local community for their assistance and information provided in this inquiry. Thankfully no one was injured.”