VANDALS have set fires in the grounds of a historic Ayrshire castle and damaged security equipment at the site.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) says it's had to step up security at Dundonald Castle.

The government body says the property "has been subject to a series of break-ins in recent months", resulting in damage to security equipment and fires being set alight.

It says that because the castle, which is operated by the Friends of Dundonald Castle, is legally protected as a 'scheduled monument', damage to the site is classed as a heritage crime.

In response HES says it has deployed increased security measures on site, with hoardings and anti-climb paint added to the scaffolding currently on site, as well as the installation of additional CCTV cameras. 

Robin Johnston, head of south region at HES, said: “Incidents such as this, where individuals have put both themselves and our precious heritage at risk, are unacceptable.   

“Heritage crime can cause irreparable damage to historic sites, potentially robbing us of our history. These incidents also divert resources away from vital conservation work to our sites and monuments. 

“The historic environment belongs to all of us, and we work closely with local communities to raise awareness of the impacts of heritage crime and how we can work together to tackle it.

"We would urge any members of the public who witness types of incidents such as this in the future that they get in touch with Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or”  

Built around 1371 by Robert III, grandson of Robert the Bruce and founder of the Stewart royal dynasty, the castle continued to serve as a noble residence following Robert's death at the property in 1390.

The site also has a cafe, museum, visitor centre and exhibition area.

Find out more about the castle at