Thieves have targeted a north-east Scout hut just months after it was hit by vandals.
The culprits ripped the lead from the roof of Portsoy Scout Hall, smashing the tiles and breaking the pointing as they did so.
It is believed the thieves struck at some point over the weekend, as a passer-by noticed the damage early yesterday and raised the alarm.
Earlier this year, vandals smashed the windows of the hut which is used by various groups in the community.
Joiners were called out yesterday to give a rough estimate of the damage but from past experience, the scout committee who run the hall fear it will cost thousands.
Scout committee member Bob Philips said: “Something like this happened about six years ago and the bill then was around £2,000.
“That was back then and this time there’s a lot more lead gone.
“It’s fairly obvious where all the lead has been removed – the white beams are showing through across the top of the roof.
“They’ve broken tiles climbing up and they’re done quite a bit of damage to the pointing and gutters.
“Our lock which keeps the gate shut has gone so we think they cut it and drove up to take the lead – it’s quite a weight of stuff they have and it’s not the kind of thing you can carry away under your arms.
“Thankfully we’re insured but we’re still waiting for the payment for the windows in January so this is a major inconvenience.
“We’re in the process of negotiating for CCTV but unfortunately that won’t help for this.”
The C-listed wooden building in the Loch Soy area was the town’s former railway station on the Moray Firth coast line and was erected in the 1880s.
It closed to rail users in May 1968 and has been home to Portsoy’s scout troop ever since.
It is also used by sewing groups, table tennis players and for community events.
Councillor Mike Roy hit out at the culprits and said: “That’s absolutely disgraceful – actually, it’s disgusting.
“The amount of work in into renovating that hall and for it to be trashed like this is unbelievable.
“This is the second time this has happened and if my memory serves me correctly it was during their renovations the original lead was taken.”
Councillor Glen Reynolds said he hopes preventative measures can be introduced.
He said: “There has been a history of vandalism and my understanding is a similar incident has happened in the past in relation to this roof.
“I will be contacting council officers and the incident team to address this as it appears the hall has become a target and there’s a pattern here that we need to tackle.”
Councillor John Cox added: “This is a popular community venue but it seems places with lead have become targets for people taking a chance.
“I’m sure with public knowledge and police information the person who did it can be tracked down.”