THERE have been 13 instances of vandalism reported at the Clickimin Broch over the last five years – including stones being removed and damage to stairs.
This figure does not include damage to external floodlights at the historic Lerwick site, which tends to happen several times a year.
On six separate occasions between 2017 and 2019 various stones were reported to have been removed from the site.
The figures have come to light following a freedom of information (FOI) request from Shetland News to the broch’s owner Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
Of the 13 instances of vandalism at the broch, the police were informed eight times.
By contrast the only other vandalism at HES properties in Shetland in the last five years was a scratched sign at Fort Charlotte in January 2022.
The national agency also oversees Ness of Burgi, Staneydale Temple, Jarlshof, Mousa Broch, Muness Castle and Scalloway Castle.
In April 2017 damage to stairs at the Clickimin Broch was reported, with stones being removed in August and October that year.
In 2018 stones were taken in May, before damage to a grill in July and more stones being removed in October.
In May 2019 there was damage to stairs, and stones removed from around the broch.
Only one instance of vandalism was spotted in 2020, when the Covid pandemic shut public access to the broch for a large period of time. This was damage to wooden steps.
Last year there was damage to a metal hatch on a beehive, a broken spindle on steps, metal grills damaged/bent and damage to a handrail.
The external floodlights, meanwhile, are the responsibility of Lerwick Community Council, which pays for any repair costs.
A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said: “Heritage crime is a serious matter which can cause irreparable damage to our monuments and cultural assets, and cause us to lose pieces of our past forever.
“It also diverts resources away from vital conservation work to our sites and monuments.
“We would urge any members of the public with any information regarding any incidents to get in touch with HES at firstname.lastname@example.org; contact Police Scotland on 101; or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.”
Clickimin Broch has evidence of settlement spanning over a thousand years.
HES, however, said the ancient structures at the site have been subject to “repeated campaigns of exploration, consolidation and maintenance since 1860, so it is by no means certain how much of the visible stonework now precisely replicates what it replaced”.
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