A SECURITY company is now keeping watch on a historic Dalgety Bay church damaged last year by teenage vandals.

In April 2016, St Bridget’s Kirk suffered “significant and long-lasting” damage to the stonework in an incident which occurred after increasing reports of anti-social behaviour around the 12th-century building.

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland, which looks after the church, said St Bridget’s Kirk was a “fascinating site” which dated back to the 1100s. 

“As with any site of this age, any damage to it can be impossible to repair and result in severe loss to the historic environment,” said the spokesperson.

“We are currently employing a security company to monitor the Kirk, supplementing the routine site visits by our Monument Conservation Team.

"Damaging a designated monument is a criminal offence, which Historic Environment Scotland takes extremely seriously.”

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Alice McGarry said it was “extremely unfortunate” that such measures had to be taken.

“We are aware of all of the issues that have happened and it is unfortunate that we have to go down this route to protect an old kirk from vandalism,” she said. “However, if it it has to be done, it has to be done.”

Fellow councillor Dave Dempsey said the area had been subject to issues in the past.

“There was bother a wee while ago and then there was bother with yobs on the industrial estate and bother at businesses but I hadn’t heard of anything reported at the kirk recently,” he said.

“Police haven’t raised it either but I suppose it is their church and they are looking after it.”

In March this year, one North Queensferry teenager appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court and admitted causing damage costing £5,000 to the ancient monument.

The 16-year-old repeatedly spray-painted walls at St Bridget’s Kirk and pleaded guilty to a charge that he had, without reasonable excuse, wilfully or recklessly destroyed or damaged property at the old church.

After having his sentence deferred for three months for good behaviour, the schoolboy was admonished as Sheriff Craig McSherry said he didn’t have the means to pay a fine.