Machrie Moor standing stones: Graffiti carved on ancient standing stones on Arran

Historical Environment Scotland (HES) has said graffiti carved on ancient standing stones on the island of Arran is a heritage crime.

Appealing for information on their social media channels, the group confirmed the standing stones at Machrie Moor, near Blackwaterfoot, had been damaged by graffiti.

HES said the site was a protected monument and any damage was a criminal offence

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The stones are a protected heritage site, with HES confirming that police had been contacted and work was being carried out to investigate the incident.

The remote moorland is managed by HES, but access is not monitored and is open to walkers.

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HES wrote on social media: “Machrie Moor standing stones, Arran, are a particularly well-preserved landscape of Neolithic & Bronze Age monuments, likely used for religious and ceremonial activities.

On a recent visit, we were concerned to discover that one stone has been damaged by incised (carved) graffiti.

Graffiti carved on ancient standing stones on the island of Arran is a heritage crime, Historic Environment Scotland has said.

"The standing stones are designated as a scheduled monument. This means they are legally protected and damage to them is a criminal offence.

"This is not the first time this has occurred at Machrie Moor and we will once again be working with Police Scotland to investigate.

"We encourage anyone with any information about this incident to contact Police Scotland or by contacting us at [email protected]

The body added: “Heritage crime can cause damage that can never be repaired and forces us to spend less resources on important conservation work."

The 4,500-year-old Neolithic stones are thought to have been used for religious and ceremonial activities.

Sergeant Kevin Blackley, from Lamlash Police Station, said: “On Thursday, May 5, we received a report of vandalism to the standing stones at Machrie Moor, which likely took place in the weeks prior to that. Enquiries into the matter are ongoing and we will continue to work closely with our partners at Historic Environment Scotland.

“It is particularly disappointing that someone, or some people, have taken advantage of the unrestricted access at the site and deliberately damaged these historic monuments.

“I ask anyone with any information on the vandalism to come forward and call police on 101.”