Two teenagers have been reported in connection with a blaze at an Ellon charity shop which has been forced to close its doors.
The British Red Cross Shop, which had re-opened after a store makeover six weeks ago, suffered extensive smoke damage following the fire on Sunday evening.
Electrics and some of the new stock in the have also been affected as a result of the incident.
A police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to the shop at around 10.15pm on Sunday.
“Police are investigating the fire which is being treated as wilful. A 17-year-old female and a 15-year-old male have been reported to the relevant authorities.”
Store manager, Elma Hay, received the call from the police.
She told The Times: “The police phoned me and said that the smoke alarm was going off and that the shed at the back of the shop was on fire.
“There were two fire engines and a police car outside.
“When we got inside the shop I couldn’t see anything for all the smoke. The back door was burnt right through.
“I am absolutely disgusted about this. There is so much smoke damage, the smell is so strong in the shop, it’s like rubber, it’s not safe to breathe in and the majority of the new lighting has stopped working as well.
“A lot of our stock has been damaged by smoke so we need to replace that before we reopen. Although the shop is closed for business, we are here clearing up and we would appeal to anyone with goods to donate to come along and hand them in to the shop.”
Ellon and District councillor Gillian Owen re-opened the shop after its makeover.
Mrs Owen said: ”I was appalled to hear about the fire at the Red Cross Shop.
“This is a sickening act targeted at one of Ellon’s favourite charity shops.
“I am saddened that having seen them so excited about the refurbishment and the re-opening that now the hard work has to begin all over again this time to clear the fire damage.”
Fellow councillor Richard Thomson said: “It will be really disappointing for the volunteers as well as for the charity itself that this fire has happened so soon after the shop was refitted.
“I hope that the shop can soon get back to trading as normal for the benefit of the Red Cross as well as the customers who appreciate its presence.”
Richard Boyd, Red Cross retail field manager for East Scotland, said: “We will reopen as quickly as possible – hopefully in days rather than weeks.
“At the moment the damage to the premises is still being assessed. The fire is being investigated by Police Scotland and we are co-operating fully with them.”