Vigilance urged after “suspicious” incidents

No entry: Substantial boulders have been placed across entrances at Sunnyside to prevent vehicles accessing the site.'Staff photograph
No entry: Substantial boulders have been placed across entrances at Sunnyside to prevent vehicles accessing the site.'Staff photograph

HILLSIDE residents are being encouraged to continue to “do their bit” in helping to secure the vacant Sunnyside Hospital against thieves.

Community officer Constable Ally Hutchison said this week, however, that there have been “suspicious incidents” at the hospital recently and he is encouraging anyone who spots such activity around the grounds and buildings to contact local police.

He said: “We were alerted by a member of the public to a white Transit van that was seen and people were thought to be in the premises, although there were no signs of entry to the building so they were probably disturbed before they could do anything.

“I don’t think it’s as bad a problem as it has been previously, but we’re asking people to be extra vigilant and if they see any suspicious vehicles at all, especially Transit-type vehicles, contact us immediately with the details.”

Buildings around the site have been targeted on several occasions over the last three years, with several high value thefts running into tens of thousands of pounds. In one incident, £10,000 worth of copper was stolen from the old laundry building, and a quantity of lead flashing and a copper boiler were also taken.

Since then security has been tightened up considerably and, as well as bins used as a training area for the emergency services, the grounds are patrolled by a security firm. An NHS Tayside spokeswoman this week said that the health authority also currently has contractors on site, carrying out repairs to some of the hospital’s listed buildings.

Local councillor David May, who lives in the village, said that while security measures installed by NHS Tayside have been largely successful, the public is still an important part of safeguarding the buildings.

He said: “I had a visit a few months ago with local police and the people responsible for security and was quite impressed by what the police had done, contacting local residents and asking them to watch for suspicious activity. That has proved to be quite successful as I gather some suspicious people were caught on site as a result.

“The big boulders put in place across the entrances by NHS Tayside have been very successful but walkers and dog walkers are playing a terrific role to help the security people and the police keep the site as safe as possible and I’d encourage them continue to do their bit.”