A HISTORIC fountain at Linlithgow Palace has been sprayed with graffiti and physically damaged.

The ornate fountain was vandalised alongside walls and flagstones at the centuries-old site where James V - who built the fountain in 1538 - and Mary Queen of Scots were born.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) experts are now working to address the damage before the palace reopens and police have begun an investigation into the incident.

Images of the damage show a piece of graffiti which reads “get the needles oot” with the a name appearing on one of the courtyard walls.

Peter McGrath, head of physical security at HES, said: “Incidents of wanton damage to our precious heritage such as this are simply unacceptable.  

“Heritage crime can cause irreparable damage to historic sites, potentially robbing us of our history. These incidents also divert resources away from vital conservation work to our sites and monuments. Our teams are working hard to address this damage before the palace reopens.   

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“We would urge any members of the public with any information regarding this incident that could help investigations to get in touch with Police Scotland on 101."

"It can cause irreparable damage, divert resources from other work and cause us to lose pieces of our past forever.

"Police Scotland are investigating the incident."

The palace was a favoured residence of the Stewart kings from James I onwards. Building work commissioned by James I, III, IV, V and VI can still be seen.