A North-east family today told how a fire could have started at their hotel after a window was smashed and a canister of fuel thrown through.
Jackie Cruickshank, who owns the Station Hotel in Insch along with her husband Colin, called the incident a “sickening” act.
It happened some time between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Jackie and Colin’s son, Aaron, found the fuel container with a rag tied round it.
Police in the town are appealing for any witnesses to come forward, and the Cruickshanks have offered a reward for any information which leads to a conviction.
It’s understood officers are also looking at CCTV from the area.
The couple bought the building, formerly known as the Carriages Hotel, last year.
Jackie, 47, said: “One of the new windows was smashed and a five litre container full of fuel with a cloth tied around the handle was thrown into the building.
“Fortunately a fire did not break out, however it seems this was the intent of the perpetrator/s.
“If anyone has information please get in touch with Police Scotland.
“There will be a substantial reward for any information that leads to conviction. “
“My son, who is a joiner, was the first on site on Tuesday morning and he hadn’t spotted the broken window.
“He then spotted the cloth tied round it and the broken window and we discovered what we believe has happened.”
Colin added: “The disturbing part is they didn’t just smash a window, but they premeditated this action and threw a container of fuel into the building with a rag coming out of it.
“I really think their intention was to start a big fire, so it’s been a bit of a shock for our family.
“It’s been lying empty for seven years, so we really want to transform the hotel into a great place for the people of Insch to meet up and socialise – which makes it all the more disgusting that someone has tried to burn it down, and even worse, that person could be from the local community.”
After phoning the police, Jackie said a forensic team had arrived to investigate.
She added: “It wasn’t nice to think someone threw that fuel canister through the window.
“It is a horrible and sickening act.
“We have no idea who would want to do this to us or the hotel.”
Pc Lewis Moir, of the Garioch Community Policing Team, said: “Vandalism and antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated.
“The owners of the hotel are in the process of refurbishing the premises and so it is disappointing that someone has chosen to cause damage to a local business which will benefit the community in the long term.”