A GANG of youths is believed to be responsible for popular stables being torched twice this week.

The volunteer-run Haughhead Stables outside Innerleithen were first targeted on Sunday night, into Monday morning, with minor damage being caused to an outbuilding.

But the fire-starters are thought to have returned to the yard the following night to set alight a further three buildings.

Although no horses were injured during either blaze, the premises have been gutted and thousands of pounds worth of equipment has been lost.

Iain Weir, who is the voluntary yard manager at Haughhead, told us: “We only noticed the first fire on Monday morning when smoke was seen coming from the smaller shed. There wasn’t a lot of damage but the following night’s fire was a different story.

“Three buildings are completely destroyed, we’ve lost the hay and the equipment that was stored inside.

“We’re having our lorry checked over to see if it has been damaged and two of the nearby shelters in the field have also been damaged and will likely have to come down.

“Nobody at Haughhead takes a wage – we all do this because we love horses. It’s just a terrible thing to have happened.”

Haughhead is home to around 50 horses – many of them from rescue centres and charities.

Iain added: “We are just grateful that none of our horses were injured – a few have been spooked but none of them injured.

“Our worry is that if these people come back and try to cause more damage, some of the horses will get hurt.”

Emergency services were called to Haughhead Stables at 1.47am on Tuesday morning.

And three fire crews – from Innerleithen, Peebles and Galashiels – fought the flames for more than two hours.

Scottish Fire and Rescue told us: “Three buildings were well alight by the time we arrived.

“The fires were brought under control before 4am but a crew remained on site to dampen down.”

The alarm was raised by a camper at the nearby campsite who heard a gang of youths before spotting the flames.

Police using a sniffer dog attempted to track down the gang.

Officers are now appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Police Scotland said: “Significant damage has been caused to a stable area, however, no animals or people were injured.

“The fire is being treated as suspicious and anyone with information is asked to come forward and quote incident 198 of June 4.”

It is understood detectives are checking CCTV footage from the nearby caravan park as they continue their search for the fire-starters.

Once the clean-up is complete Haughhead Stables will re-open for business.

And the volunteers plan to start a crowdfunding page in their bid to rebuild the stables.