HEARTBROKEN gardeners at Greenock's Caddlehill Allotments say a spate of blazes that ravaged the community facility have caused £10,000 of damage.

Four buildings were torched in the attack in the early hours of Sunday morning - taking the total number of buildings gutted by fire since the start of the year to eight.

The allotment tool shed was targeted in March and the other seven buildings - one of which is thought to be more than 40-years-old - were set alight over the last two weekends.

The blazes are the latest disaster to hit the Kelly Street site which has been plagued by vandalism.

Secretary Mark Dickson, pictured, believes the fires are being deliberately set by someone who is determined to see the quiet and peaceful area ruined.

He said: "It's so disheartening and disappointing. There's a strange feel around the place now.

"This is an arsonist getting his or her kicks out of watching us go up in flames.

"They're setting each greenhouse on fire individually before leaving quietly under cover of darkness."

Some of the greenhouses which were set ablaze were made from polycarbonate, and others from a mix of polycarbonate and glass.

The individual fires consumed each of the buildings and although the structures still stand, the coverings have melted away.

A number of the greenhouses were built using Postcode Lottery funding.

Plot owners have also recently had plants destroyed, and there have been numerous thefts from the greenhouses, with items including chairs, tables, plants, seeds and small garden tools all stolen.

The expansive allotment area offers 35 plots which are used by holders and their spouses.

Mark said that it's likely the firebugs are climbing over the crematorium wall to get in and hopes that the committee can come up with a plan to thwart them going forward.

He added: "We've thought about throwing the towel in but it's a hobby for people and they invest a lot of time and effort in this place.

"It's your own personal space and a nice place for people to unwind and potter about.

"We don't have enough money in the kitty to replace everything so we need to figure out what we're going to do.

"The committee will get together and try and come up with a plan."

Caddlehill chairperson Rose Stewart said that the allotments are not only about gardening.

She added: "The allotments represent year upon year of people fundraising, putting in some of their own money and getting help from different organisations.

"They also represent all the hard work that the plot holders have put in to make it look nice.

"Those who were able to come even helped look after plots owned by people who were shielding during lockdown.

"It's a great shame to have this going on. It's a nightmare."

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "On September 13 at 1am, we were alerted to reports of a fire within garden allotments in Greenock.

"Operations control mobilised one appliance to the town's Kelly Street, where firefighters were met by a fire which had taken hold of several greenhouses.

"Firefighters extinguished the fire and worked to make the area safe before leaving the scene.

"There were no casualties."

A spokesperson for Greenock CID said: "Enquiries are at a very early stage. The allotments are in quite a remote area and our lines of enquiry are very sparse, so we're really keen for someone to come forward to provide us with some information."

If you can help, call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.