A Tillicoultry businessman fears for the safety of his staff and premises due to vandals setting fires in a neighbouring vacant property.

Alan Matheson, director and co-owner of Dewar Brothers, told the Advertiser that the nearby LEMAC warehouse is a common target for youths.

And he has called on the owners to make the building secure following a number of fires, the latest being in the late evening two weeks ago.

He has expressed fears of fire spreading to the Dewar Brothers buildings, potentially putting the lives of his staff at risk.

In an email to Frank Coleman, president of the Lemac Corporation, who currently resides in America, Mr Matheson informed him that the main gate to the building had been brought down, leaving the property open to vandals.

He wrote: “Just to make you aware that the main gate to the derelict LEMAC site on Barnpark Drive, Tillicoultry, has been removed from its hinges and the site is now totally insecure.

“I have been advised that on Thursday, January 4, the site was yet again accessed by intruders and a fire started which was attended by two fire crews.

“As you know, there were multiple occasions when fires were raised on the site last summer.

“I want to highlight yet again that this situation is a major concern to us locally because part of the Lemac building adjoins our building.

“We are one of the biggest employers in the area with 34 staff, the majority of whom live locally.

“It would be useful if someone would take responsibility and do something about this situation before there is a major incident resulting in damage to our property, serious injury, or worst case a fatality.”

The LEMAC building sits to the rear of the Dewar Brothers’ premises on Barnpark Drive.

During lockdown, the building was left vacant and did not reopen following the nationwide easing of the rules. In the following years, the site has become a repeated target for vandals, who have forced entry to the building and started fires using the chemicals left inside.

Several fires were reported at the site in May last year, with fires occurring as recently as two weeks ago at the LEMAC building.

Frank Coleman, president of LEMAC, responded to Mr Matheson indicating they could not be held responsible foe the criminal activities taking place at their premises.

Mr Coleman's email stated: “As I have indicated in the past, we have been attempting to secure a buyer for the property including an offer to your good selves.

“Every time this issue of securing the property has been raised, we have addressed the concerns and made efforts to secure the property at that time, at expense to ourselves.

“We have asked on each occasion what progress has been made with identifying or holding culpable the parties responsible for the unlawful entry and arson on our property but to date we have received zero positive response.

“We continue to seek an amicable solution but fail to understand your insistence that this is our fault.”

Alan told the Advertiser that the main gate to the site had been broken down, enabling vandals to access the LEMAC building with ease. The gate has since been repaired by Clackmannanshire Council, who made fresh attempts to secure the site last week.

Alan added that he just wanted to guarantee the safety of his employees and his business.

Alan added: “The concern to us is that there is a part of their building that joins on to ours.

“Our concern is that if there is a significant enough fire started on their premises, given there has been multiple fires already, that it spreads to our building.

“It’s so close to us, it’s posing a risk to our business and our staff members and it can’t really go on.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were alerted at 10.56pm on Thursday, January 4, to reports of a fire at a premises on Barnpark Drive, Tillicoultry.

“Operations Control mobilised two appliances to the scene where crews extinguished the fire.

“No injuries were reported, and firefighters left after ensuring the area was made safe.”