Ecclesmachan and Threemiletown Community Council have just completed a project to upgrade four local paths. But less than 4 weeks after the official launch, one of their brand new, specialised stock-proof gates, and the posts it was attached too, has been stolen.

The theft was discovered on Wednesday 13th April. Community Council Chairperson Gordon Allan said: “I can’t believe someone wanted this for their garden and it certainly seems a lot of effort for such a small amount of wood or metal.”  Gordon also said, “Funding of around £1000 will now have to be sought for a replacement as the grant for the original work has been completed – we need to protect the livestock in the fields adjacent to the path and avoid a potential accident on this road.”

The gate may have already ended up on a bonfire, but there is a chance it will turn up on another path or at a salvage yard or car boot sale, so please keep an eye out for it whilst you are out and about. The gate was stolen from a path that opens onto the Linlithgow to Dechmont Road, in West Lothian. If you can give any information, please contact Lothian and Borders Police at Broxburn Police Station on 01506 852121 quoting incident number 0750/14042011.

The project, created and managed by the Ecclesmachan and Threemiletown Community Council, was funded by Awards for All lottery funding and The West Lothian Council LEADER programme and took over 3 years to plan and execute. It involved the co-operation of three local landowners including Oatridge College and technical assistance from Paths for All. The work on the four paths, some 8.5km long in total, included drainage, a new bridge, new fencing, new stone-pitched steps and new stock-proof gates. Volunteers are now working on ways of making the remaining gates more secure.