STORM Malik wreaked havoc on Dunfermline Abbey's graveyard last week as winds of up to 70mph ripped through West Fife.

Despite rumours of vandalism, eye-witness accounts have confirmed the damaged scene at the historic graveyard was caused by the storms.

Multiple grave stones have toppled over and smashed at the south side of the Abbey, including a beautiful Celtic cross.

Councillor Jean Hall Muir told the Press: "It was just after 9am when people saw the damage that the winds were causing so it was not vandalism.

"Bereavement Services were alerted to the situation quickly but it was decided to wait until Monday morning to assess the damage with more winds forecast.

"The team was on site on Monday and they were able to make the area safe."

A total of 15 gravestones were hit by the storms one of which needed immediate intervention for stabilising.

The Abbey Church of Dunfermline, Fife Council Bereavement Services as well as those involve in the Churchyards Project are in discussion as to additional conservation.

A crowdfunder might also be considered to help pay for repair work.

On Facebook, the Abbey Church of Dunfermline posted: "The wild storms overnight and this morning have caused damage in Dunfermline Abbey's graveyard.

"These stones are important markers for families of loved ones much missed, and so there will be poignant memories stirred by the wind.

"There will be discussion over the next few days to ensure the best care happens, however, in the meantime, we would ask that people take care when walking in the graveyard at the moment."

Work is already under way for conservation work at the Abbey graveyard.

Detailed documenting and assessing of gravestones are included in this as well as the west end gate which needs some attention.

An access ramp is going to be built at the church and there is also ongoing discussion around new access paths, LED lighting and interpretation boards.

The south side of the graveyard was originally a monastic site before being redeveloped in the 19th century.

"These are fantastic assets that have been damaged so we are taking this very seriously," Cllr Hall Muir said.

"Whilst it's unfortunate, the more positive take is that there is a co-ordinated group because of all of the work that's already going on means that we can respond as quickly as possible."