By Kirsty Topping
HOOLIGANS set fire to a derelict building then continued to loot the place for scrap metal while the building burned.
Firefighters were called to tackle the blaze at a four-storey block of flats on Tuesday evening, while police chased the suspects through the surrounding streets.
Crews were forced to cut through metal barriers to gain access to the fire.
As they did so, youths continued to throw debris from the building, despite being confronted by police and firefighters.
Around half a dozen youths were seen running through the building, which has had its walls stripped away.
Others could be seen carrying away stolen scrap metal, thought to be copper, and one group, thought to contain 30 youths, even brazenly posed for photographs.
Around six appliances were called to the blaze, which started around 6.10pm. They were on scene for around an hour and a half as they contained the fire to the roof area.
Last night police detained a youth under 16 and arrested a 17-year-old.
The fire-hit block, In the Muirhouse area of Edinburgh, is due to be demolished as part of plans to get rid of 1700 of the city’s worst homes.
Furious resident said fires have been lit on half a dozen prior occasions and the area is blighted by anti-social behaviour.
Local resident Bob Japp, 43, said:
“This has happened five or six times. There’s about 30 of them just standing in front of the building. No shame.
“I’ve got no idea how they got in because the place is sealed shut. Even the fire crews can’t get in. “
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue crews had used a turntable ladder to keep the roof fire under
control while four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building to prevent the fire from spreading.
A police spokesman said a teenager under 16 had been detained in connection with the incident and a 17-year-old was due in court charged with culpable and reckless conduct.
He said that most of the suspects had escaped but police searched the surrounding area that night.