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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Millennium attraction damaged
The Falkirk Wheel
The wheel was damaged when sluice gates were opened
Vandals have attacked a multi-million pound millennium attraction just weeks before it is due to be officially unveiled by the Queen.

Millions of gallons of water cascaded 150ft into the 17m Falkirk Wheel after sluice gates on the Union Canal were deliberately opened.

Contractors said it is too early to assess whether the public opening, just weeks before the Queen's visit, will be delayed.

Canal construction
The project has cost 84.5m
The Falkirk Wheel is the centrepiece of an 84.5m project to establish a coast-to-coast link across central Scotland.

British Waterways said the basin below the wheel was affected, although the water did not reach the visitor centre.

Central Scotland Police said it is treating the incident as criminal damage.

Jim Stirling, director for British Waterways Scotland, said: "We are appalled at this wanton vandalism.

"The Falkirk Wheel is set to be a visitor attraction of international standing.

"The Wheel and the Millennium Link project as a whole will bring widespread regeneration to Falkirk and throughout the 70-mile waterway corridor across Scotland."

The Falkirk Wheel and the Union Canal are part of the Millennium Link project to restore the historic waterway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It has been scheduled to open to the public on 1 May.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Kate Fawcett reports
"A major police inquiry has been launched"
See also:

01 Sep 01 | Scotland
Canal wheel nears completion
26 May 01 | Scotland
Canal re-opens after 40 years
18 Aug 00 | Scotland
Canal cleared of mercury
13 Sep 99 | Scotland
Prescott makes canal splash
21 Jul 99 | Sci/Tech
Canals making a comeback
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