Empty Bonnybridge hospital is target for thieves

The former hospital in Bonnybridge
The former hospital in Bonnybridge

A hospital has become a magnet for metal thieves after its closure in December.

The former Bonnybridge Community Hospital has lain empty since its remaining patient services were switched to Falkirk.

Like many other newly vacant buildings, it was soon targeted by criminals intent on stripping it of any materials that could be sold on.

Metal prices are at an all-time high as demand grows across the globe.

This has led to a surge in thefts across the country.

Sean McCabe, who lives opposite the former hospital site, said he had reported several incidents to the police.

He added: “It’s an easy target for thieves as it’s a quiet spot. They’ve cut holes in the perimeter fence, and can make a getaway across the park.”

Central Scotland Police confirmed that the former hospital in Falkirk Road had been hit by thieves in recent weeks.

Sometime between 10 a.m. on January 10 and noon on January 11, a piece of lead measuring six metres by one metre was removed from the roof. An attempt was also made to break into the building.

It is likely that a vehicle was used to transport the metal from the site.

And a further quantity of lead was stolen sometime between January 31 and February 6.

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “Vandalism and metal theft from buildings is an increasing national problem.

“We are aware of this issue and have been working with police to further improve the security of the site.

“This includes installing CCTV and improving the external lighting.”

The Falkirk Herald reported last month that some residents were concerned that the prominent site at the entrance to the village would become an “eyesore” if it was allowed to remain boarded up.

NHS bosses confirmed that they were in discussions with Falkirk Council to find an alternative use for the facility, but that a suitable tenant had yet to be found.

It is understood that the site would be sold on the open market to developers if a community use is not identified.

Bonnybridge councillor William Buchanan said: “The longer it sits empty, the worse the problems will get. The building is the first thing you see when you drive into the village - it’s not a good image.”

Anyone with information regarding the thefts from the hospital should call police on (01786) 456000.