VANDALS have caused £50,000 worth of damage to hi-tech equipment which is part of controversial plans for a multi-million windfarm development.

An 80-metre high wind speed mast on farmland just off Corlic Hill was tampered with and then it completely collapsed.

Police say the incident happened between 3.50am and 4am on Friday 3 October.

The expensive 262ft tall equipment belongs to Greenock-based 2020 Renewables and was being used to gather data as part of the company’s plans for a massive £45 million windfarm at the site.

The proposed development was initially for 10 turbines — which would be visible from Greenock town centre — but following a review, the company now want to build eight.

Bosses from 2020 have today spoken of their ‘shock’ at the deliberate attack and say someone could easily have been killed as a result of it.

They are also offering a reward for any information leading to the arrest of those involved.

A spokesman for 2020 Renewables said: “We were shocked to find out that our met mast at Corlic Hill had been tampered with to bring about its deliberate destruction.

“Evidence from the site shows that several guy wires and shackles were disconnected from their anchors, leading to the collapse of the 80-metre high mast. The health and safety implications of this targeted act of vandalism are of serious concern, as an uncontrolled falling mast could have resulted in loss of life.

“We are co-operating with Greenock CID who are investigating the crime and studying CCTV footage in the area. If anyone has information about the incident, please contact DC Stuart Young on 492676.

“A reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved will be given.” Police say they are treating the incident as ‘malicious mischief’ and have appealed for any eye-witnesses or anyone with information to come forward as a matter of urgency.

Constable Kyle MacDougall, of Greenock police, said: “It’s a wind measuring instrument put in place in farmland off Corlic Hill in Greenock and is to do with the windfarm development.

“It’s been played about with and collapsed and damaged the instrument.

“We are looking for anyone with information about this who could help us.” The huge lamp-post-like structure is located between Greenock and Port Glasgow.

The proposed Inverclyde Windfarm site surrounds the high ground of Corlic Hill and includes parts of Burnhead Moor, Moukin Moor and Devol Moor.

An application for the eight turbine project is currently being considered by Inverclyde Council’s planning department.

There are more than 700 objections, and just one letter of support to date.