A WELL-KNOWN dad-of-two has spoken of the trauma that vandalism to his family cars has caused to his young children.

Musselburgh High Street trader Neil Wilson has been left reeling after finding his black Volkswagen Sharan people carrier completely burnt out and his wife’s red Honda Jazz doused in turpentine as the town prepared to welcome runners for this year’s Edinburgh Marathon.

The Town Champion at Musselburgh’s 2016 Riding of the Marches and a former Honest Lad, Mr Wilson parked the two vehicles in a field belonging to his neighbours, which is earmarked for about 40 new houses, at the back of his Ravensheugh Road home.

The private route which leads to his house is blocked off for the annual run.

“I’ve done that for the past six years when the marathon is on,” said Mr Wilson who owns a greengrocer’s shop in the town and is a former president of the Rotary Club of Musselburgh and a former president of the Honest Toun’s Association.

He said: “I usually park the cars in a private yard at my house but the private road which leads to my house is blocked off for the marathon, so I can access the field opposite Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre on Haddington Road.”

The family had been visiting relatives on the Saturday evening before the marathon on the Sunday and returned at about 8.45pm and parked their cars in the field out of public view.

They went to bed and, in the morning, Mr Wilson’s wife Nicci and six-year-old daughter Imogen, who plays football for the Musselburgh Windsor under-nine team, went to the cars at about 7.50am as they were due to travel to Bathgate for a game with a 9.30am kick-off.

Mr Wilson said: “As my wife walked along, she felt something was not right and when she got closer she could smell it – the car was completely and utterly burnt out.

“It was traumatic for my daughter who did not want to go near it.

“It was still burning hot, although there were no flames.”

The police were contacted and Mr Wilson went to see what had happened.

“The Volkswagen Sharan was decimated,” he said.

“There was nothing left, only shells of things in the back of the car. The glass had melted because it was so hot.

“The field was not dry because of heavy rain or it could quite easily have set fire to the field.”

Mr Wilson said that most of their belongings had been taken out of the people carrier but two pairs of his trainers and sports equipment were destroyed.

He added: “The window of my wife’s car had been broken and accelerant, turpentine I think, was poured into it and there was a box of matches inside.”

He said it was possibly because of the rain the car had not caught alight.

His daughter’s schoolbag, which was in the back of his wife’s car, was ruined by the turpentine and her tap dancing clothes had also been doused in the liquid.

Mr Wilson said: “Although the window has been repaired, the smell is still quite overpowering and almost gives you a headache.

“We tried our best to get the turpentine out but it is difficult to get rid of the smell by washing and vacuuming.

“My children have taken it quite badly. My daughter was scared someone would come back and do it to my wife’s car and my nine-year-old son Angus has had difficulty getting a full night’s sleep.

“It is difficult to explain why people would do such a thing to someone else’s property. It is scary for the children.”

Mr Wilson said the family were out of pocket as the insurance company wouldn’t cover the cost of the excess plus their personal belongings.

He believed it was a random act of fireraising, adding: “Someone has been out to set something alight or has gone home to get an accelerant. It is not a silly act after the pub. I hope they feel guilty about what they have done.”

A police spokesperson said: “We were called to Ravensheugh Road around 8.25am on Sunday, May 26, following reports two cars had been vandalised. Enquiries into this incident are continuing.”