THE success of a road race at the start of the Musselburgh Festival was marred by vandals who daubed graffiti over the portable toilets, leaving organisers with a bill of more than £550.

More than 300 runners took part in the event, which was staged by Musselburgh & District AC on July 23.

Roddy Mackenzie, race director, said that the vandalism has “soured” the event, adding that the club had to fork out cash for the spray-painted graffiti to be cleaned off the five toilets at the Loretto playing fields at Newfield.

He said: “It is saddening to see such mindless vandalism.

“Any proceeds from our race go to our junior section to help develop young athletes who will hopefully go on to great success in the sport or at least enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that athletics provides.

“If these vandals are so bored to resort to this then I’d invite them along to a training night to begin a more productive lifestyle.

“The race has been going on for about 20 years now and it makes us question whether it is worth all the effort to put such an event on for the local community when any profit is wiped out overnight.

'A real body-blow'

“We’re an amateur sports club, staffed by volunteers who willingly give up their time to help athletes of all ages and all standards in the community.

“This is a real body-blow to them.”

The road race starts and finishes at the Loretto playing fields at Newfield, with runners making their way to the harbour before heading towards the lagoons and along the back of the racecourse.

Mr Mackenzie said that, prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, the toilets, which were hired, were always delivered and taken away on the day of the race but, for the club’s last two races – the festival road race and an event last November – they were delivered on the Friday and taken away on the Monday.

He believed that the vandalism had happened on the Sunday or the Saturday.

'This type of vandalism is rare'

Bill Logan, director of Carluke-based Envirosan, which supplied the toilets, said: “This is disappointing for everyone involved.

“Fortunately, this type of vandalism is a rare occurrence.

“The damage was superficial.

“The cost for me is the labour and chemicals to bring the units back to a fit state for the next customer.

“We have supported Musselburgh 10k in previous occasions and this has never happened before.

“We will be glad to support Roddy and his team in the future.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “On Monday, July 25, we received a report of vandalism to portable toilets.

“Anyone who knows who was responsible should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting 2980 of July 25.”