A BLAZE at the derelict Crookston School near Wallyford is being treated as wilful fireraising by police.

Firefighters from Musselburgh, Dalkeith and Newcraighall raced to extinguish the fire after a member of the public raised the alarm at about 5.40pm on Sunday as thick smoke billowed from the site at Salters Road, which is visible from the A1 road.

It is the second time in little over two years that there has been a major blaze at the building, after a large fire there in May 2015.

Alister Hadden, a former Crookston pupil, said that the latest fire appeared to happen in the former woodwork classroom of the school, where children from Wallyford, Whitecraig and Smeaton were educated in the past.

The building subsequently became a dining hall, he added.

East Lothian Courier:

Mr Hadden, a Wallyford Community Councillor and treasurer of the Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield Group, said: “The former Crookston School still holds many fond memories for its former pupils such as myself. I still have my class photo on my desk at home and held a reunion with some of the class of 1951 not so long ago.

“Why can’t they let it rest in peace until it can be returned back into something of an educational centre for East Lothian and beyond?”

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Police were called after a fire was started at a disused yard between the Wallyford and Whitecraig areas.

“Officers received the report around 5.40pm on Sunday and local road closures were put in place due to heavy smoke.

“Anyone with information about this is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 3162 of June 25, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The former Crookston School has been earmarked as a site for a potential heritage centre for the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.

Inveresk resident Ian Irving, who is leading the battlefield heritage centre plan, said that, following a recent meeting of the local steering group, it was decided to contact East Lothian Council’s planners to discuss the project. He added that a heritage trust could be formed and a business plan drawn up.

The steering group has already had “positive” talks with the owner of the site, Motherwell-based Anderson Group.

Mr Irving said: “Every effort is being made by our steering committee to establish this first-class tourist information and education centre which will mainly highlight the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh which occurred in the area surrounding the old school grounds.”

The heritage plan is being backed by a number of local organisations.