Mindless vandals have been blasted as “disgusting and disrespectful” after setting wheelie bins alight in the grounds of the Abbey Church.

The shocking scenes unfolded just after 9pm on Sunday night whilst the church hall was playing host to the Ayr String Band’s winter concert, which was halted due to the blaze.

The deliberate fire is the latest act of vandalism to hit the town following a previous fire and yobs trying to damage the war memorial in the Abbey.

Kilwinning Community Council Secretary Nairn McDonald said: "It’s really upsetting to have to pause the concert due to wheelie bins being set ablaze in the Abbey Grounds. This is not only criminal vandalism but it is incredibly dangerous and deeply disrespectful.

“It’s clearly a small minority who are doing this but people in the community must know who they are so they need to be active and report it to police. People clearly know who they are because they’ll be going home stinking of the fumes and there’s not much the police can do if they don’t know who that is.

“Not only is it disgusting and disrespectful to be doing that in a historic church ground but also it’s a graveyard, people are buried in there, it’s the height of disrespect.”

This follows similar acts of vandalism raised with police at the meeting of Kilwinning Community Council last week.

Community Councillor Janey Grier said: “There was at least one blue bin set on fire in the Abbey grounds on Friday (February 15) it was absolutely dreadful. It was just burnt out and the contents of it had been burnt out in the Abbey as well it was really shocking.”

Community Councillor Jim Watson said: “I walked through the Abbey grounds today (Thursday, February 21) and someone has been trying to damage the base of the war memorial by throwing stones where the names are on it, it’s really quite disturbing to see that . It’s very disrespectful.

“Again it’s dark, it’s a very difficult area to police but I find it very disturbing that people would be so disrespectful.”

Police have confirmed they have been speaking to Kilwinning Community Council regarding the vandalism incidents.

Anyone with information should call Police on 101.