BOSSES at a Catholic shrine have said they are "very sad" after "yobs" set fire to the holy site.    

The Lourdes Cave at Carfin Grotto near Motherwell, which holds memorials to deceased loved ones, was targeted on Sunday night. 

A video shared on Facebook by Carfin Grotto said the fire destroyed signs, candle stands, cables and plaques. 

The fire also left damage to the floor. 

A spokesperson for Sancta Familia Media, who run press inquiries for the shrine, said: "It has saddened us all at Carfin as we approach our centenary next year of the opening of the Grotto on October 1.

"Covid has reduced a lot of our annual intake by reducing pilgrimages so we are already on a tight budget before this attack.

"The fire was quite fierce and set deliberately by the piling of items together and setting them alight.

"The Lourdes memorial cave, dedicated in 2009 by Bishop Perrier of Lourdes, contains memorials to deceased relatives and provides a space for prayer. 

"The iron candle stands have been completely melted and fire-damaged and are unusable and some of the plaques have damage to their letters. 

"We are awaiting further info from police and we will need to do more security checks and structural checks to the cave, including lights and cables.

They added: "We do not wish to close the current 24/7 access to the Grotto.

"It has been a place of prayer and solace for over 99 years.

"A welcome place to all.

"However we need to tighten security as we hear almost daily attacks, vandalism and damage to Catholic churches across Scotland.

"Catholics on the ground are concerned and believe more needs to be done at a national level."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We were made aware of damage caused at Carfin Grotto on Newarthall Road in Motherwell around 12.50pm on Monday, October 18. 

"Enquiries are ongoing and at an early stage."

The Carfin Grotto is Scotland's National Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes and welcomes over 70,000 pilgrims each year.