Watch: Wreaths burnt at Edinburgh's war memorial
Vandals have caused widespread outrage after setting fire to a war memorial in Edinburgh just a day after Remembrance Sunday.
Many of the poppy wreaths laid in honour of the dead were set on fire in the early hours of Monday, authorities confirmed.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were called at 5.14am to reports of the blaze and discovered the burnt remains.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the vandals as “sickening and disgraceful”.
She had led tributes at the war memorial on Sunday and was among those who laid poppy wreaths at the Stone of Remembrance outside the City Chambers.
Sturgeon said it was “utterly beyond comprehension that someone would vandalise a war memorial on Remembrance Day".
“I hope those responsible are identified and brought to justice", she said.
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Robert Aldridge also hit out at those behind the vandalism, calling it “disgusting and disrespectful”.
He added: “We remain at a loss for the reasons someone could do something like this which has caused a lot of upset for everyone who respects the memories of all who serve their country.”
Former servicemen and women make the poppy wreaths and money raised from selling them goes towards helping vulnerable colleagues and their families.
Major Charlie Pelling, in charge at the Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, said he was “horrified” after the wreaths they made were vandalised.
He told BBC Scotland: "This is deeply insulting to the memory of the men and women the memorial is meant to remember."
Scottish Conservative Lothians MSP Miles Briggs said: “It is totally disgraceful that, less than 24 hours after typically poignant Remembrance Sunday services in the capital, moronic idiots would engage in burning tributes that had been laid for our soldiers.
“It is a show of total disrespect towards those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service added: “Operations control mobilised one fire appliance to the scene where a fire affecting a number of wreaths had been extinguished prior to arrival.”
Police Scotland are investigating the incident.
Chief Inspector Murray Tait said: "Our inquiries are ongoing after poppy wreaths were set on fire at the war memorial in High Street, Edinburgh about 05:00 on Monday.
"Officers are carrying out inquiries and gathering CCTV footage to find out more information on whoever is responsible.
"I utterly condemn this appalling act of vandalism, especially at this time of year when remembrance services have just been held across the country."
Members of the three branches of the Armed Forces had marched down the Royal Mile before the short service, led by Rev Calum MacLeod, at the memorial overlooked by St Giles’ Cathedral.