A MUSSELBURGH resident has told of the "scary" moment a group of about 25 youths passed by their front door, moments before a fire broke out at buildings at the former Edenhall Hospital on Sunday evening.

Firefighters tackled the large blaze at the old hospital for nearly six hours, with crews from Newcraighall, Dalkeith, Musselburgh, Liberton, Marionville and McDonald Road all on the scene, while police officers were still present on Monday morning.

Pictures taken by the Courier show a number of the outer buildings heavily damaged – and one nearby resident told of a group of youngsters heading to the hospital, moments before the blaze started.

READ MOREFormer Edenhall Hospital buildings badly damaged by fire

The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Courier: "We were just sitting in the garden and about 25 youths walked up the street all together.

"We do get a lot of this, so I wasn't too surprised, but before I knew it, we heard fire engines and police cars going past.

"Ten minutes later, we saw all of the youngsters running down and that was very scary, and after that they started splitting up and going in different directions.

"It has to be the worst fire we've had here but, yet again, we are used to groups of young people heading up to the hospital.

"In its day, it was a lovely hospital but there has been so much trouble recently and the locals close by are now in a frustrating situation because derelict buildings do normally attract this kind of behaviour."

The hospital closed in 2010 and has been for sale since 2016.

In 2019, Stewart Milne Homes Ltd withdrew a planning application to develop the site for housing.

The site, which was associated with the estate of the Lindsay family in the early 19th century, became disused in 2010 following NHS Lothian’s decision to relocate services to the newly developed Musselburgh Primary Care Centre.

READ MOREBuildings at former Edenhall Hospital deemed 'unsafe' following fire

Detective Constable Calum Cross of Dalkeith CID said: “This was a significant fire and thankfully no one was injured.

“Our enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances and the cause of the fire, and we would ask anyone with information to contact us.

"We are aware of reports that a large group of youths were seen in the nearby area and are making enquiries to establish if they had any connection to the fire.

“I would also ask the public to avoid the area, as the buildings are very dangerous as a result of the fire.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting incident 3207 of May 19, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.