A team of city bowlers has been left with a £12,500 repair bill – after a marauding gang of squirrels ate their clubhouse.
Up to ten of the rampaging rodents gnawed their way through six-inch thick joists and electrical wiring causing the ceiling to collapse at the Northern Bowling Club in Canonmills.
Shocked club officials arrived at their once pristine clubroom to find it resembling a building site – with the trouble-making grey squirrels scampering around in the debris.
It’s believed a painter who removed some wooden panels ahead of redecoration work provided the tipping point for the ceiling to cave in.
Club vice-president Gordon Wilson said: “It’s incredible. It seems that the entire ceiling was only being kept in place by the roof panels. They had chewed through everything, roof joists, wiring, the lot. I dread to think what could have happened if the club had been full when it all came down.
“A few of the members have said they heard them scrambling around and that but no-one ever thought they were causing so much damage.”
The critters have since been booted out and metal grilles erected to bar their return.
Gordon added: “Let’s just say we have revoked their membership and they hopefully won’t be returning anytime soon.”
Pest removal expert Graeme Hill, of Wee Critters Pest Control, has seen an increase in reports of squirrels within ceiling spaces in recent weeks and isn’t surprised at the damage they have caused at the club.
He said: “It’s at this time of year that they enter roof spaces to breed. They can cause a lot of damage. I’ve seen them chew through plastic water tanks causing a flood and the ceiling to collapse.”
Asked to explain why they cause such damage, he added: “They constantly chew on stuff to keep their teeth down as their teeth are constantly growing. That’s why if they get in it’s best to get them out quickly.
“The fact it’s a bowling club would mean that nobody would be there during the night, when they get into a private home there’s no mistaking it as the noise they make in the attic is incredible.”
The 134-year-old club is not covered for rodent damage on its insurance, so members will have to raise cash to carry out repairs themselves.
They already have nearly £3,000, but a further £12,500 is still needed to ensure a permanent fix is in place before winter. A jumble sale has now been organised by members and various other fund-raising events are also planned throughout the summer.
“The only nuts we’ll have at the club following this are the members,” added the fed-up club vice-president last night.