'We smashed up £100k pit gear' say eco-warriors
militant eco-warriors claim they were behind a raid on a former opencast pit in which £100,000 worth of coal mining machinery was sabotaged.
• Staff survey the damage to the vehicles
The raid on a pit in Rosewell, Midlothian, has been labelled "bizarre" by local politicians baffled as to why a surface mine currently being restored for agricultural use has been targeted.
A dozen machines were vandalised in Sunday's crime spree at Newbigging Farm, with wires cut, air filters torn out, and trailer tyres slashed.
On Monday, an online activist claimed responsibility for the action. Using the pseudonym Love, Rage and Bolt Croppers, he wrote: "On Equinox night we entered the gravel and coal opencast extraction site at Castlebridge near Rosewell The absence of security and unlocked cabs made our night very productive.
"Inside the cabs we found all sorts of expensive goodies like GPS, radios and various dials and screens to rip out and smash. The excavators had a bewildering array of electronic panels and engines the size of cars, we did what we could to immobilise these machines that destroy our health and that of the earth. "
Inspector Neil Simpson, who is spearheading the police probe, said they were aware of the claims and were following a "specific line of inquiry".
"This was a targeted, deliberate act set up to disable vehicles and machinery operating on that site. We know the site was occupied two years ago by climate protesters but we are keeping an open mind about who may have carried out the damage."
Insp Simpson said forensic evidence suggested only one or two people had been involved in the raid, in which nothing was stolen.
Midlothian councillor Owen Thompson said he didn't believe the vandals were local residents and said he was bewildered why a defunct colliery undergoing an eco-conscious revamp would be targeted by environmentalists.
"It looks like it's people who have no understanding of the local situation and I find it utterly bizarre," he said.
A spokesman for Scottish Coal added: "We deplore all actions of any group who puts lives at risk by interfering with highly sensitive equipment."
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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