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Elgin businesses speak of issues caused as wilfully-started fire causes internet and phone access outage


By Jonathan Clark

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BUSINESSES and homes in Elgin town centre have faced a week of disruption after an act of wilful fireraising caused a power outage.

Bins belonging to The Ditsy Teacup and Room to Bloom were set on fire.
Bins belonging to The Ditsy Teacup and Room to Bloom were set on fire.

Several businesses were left without internet or phone lines after bins and a phone cabinet were deliberately set on fire on the corner of Thunderton Place and South Street on Sunday morning.

It is hoped that access will be restored by Friday, but feared it might take as long as Wednesday.

Angela Wimble at Heather Glen Guest House B&B, said her and her guests were woken by the fire brigade putting out the fire at about 4.30am on Sunday.

On the effect it has had on her business, she added: "We've had no internet or phones but the biggest issue for us has been that we can't sell by credit card.

"For our customers it has been a bigger issue as we usually provide free WiFi. We've had a guy in from Canada who is having to go to Costa to get internet to contact home.

"We have a few people booked in for the weekend we are hoping everything will be back up and running by then."

This is the second time in three weeks these bins have been targeted, creating worries that worse is to come.

Richard Cumming, owner of Sirology, hopes that action can be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again.

He said: "It hasn't affected trade too badly but it might have led to some folk saying 'I don't know so I won't go' and we need as much footfall as possible.

"There is a problem with anti-social behaviour at the moment and the worry is that, if it isn't addressed, it puts folk off coming into town."

Oriano Marchi, owner of nearby Italian restaurant Toscana, added: "The real worry is that if someone sets our bins on fire, for example, they are right next to the property, so we could be talking about something far worse."

The fire brigade were called out in the early hours of Sunday morning after alarms at TK Maxx were set off.

Openreach turned up around midday on Monday to assess the extent of the issue.
Openreach turned up around midday on Monday to assess the extent of the issue.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 4.35am on Sunday, June 12, to reports of a BT junction box on fire at the junction of South Street and Thunderton Place in Elgin.

“Operations control immediately mobilised a fire engine to the location and firefighters extinguished the fire.

“Crews left the scene after ensuring the area was made safe.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson added: “No-one was injured as a result of the fire.

“The fire is being treated as wilful and enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances."

Anyone with any information on the fire is asked to contact police via 101 quoting incident number 0803 of Sunday, 12 June, 2022.




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