A village is being terrorised by a mysterious black slime – blamed on its whisky warehouse.
Residents of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, have spent years fighting the thick residue, which clings to houses, paths and cars.
It appears in every corner of the tiny community, forcing locals to spend hundreds of pounds on power hoses to blast their properties clean.
They say the fungus is encouraged by alcohol evaporating from whisky tanks at a nearby Diageo site.
But with the company denying responsibility, there is no hope of getting rid of it anytime soon.
Dad-of-two Neil Docherty takes a full day to clean the glass on his conservatory when the build-up gets too bad.
The 39-year-old said: “It’s horrible sitting in it with this black stuff over the roof all the time.
“It really does block out the light, it gets darker as the summer goes on.
“It takes a while to clean my conservatory but I’ve got to do it if I’m going to enjoy the summer.”
Maintenance engineer Neil, married to Jacqueline, 35, uses washing powder and an extendable mop to scrub the roof clean.
Neighbour Fraser McLachlan, 39, spent £300 on a power washer for his home and uses a credit card to painstakingly scrape the fungus of his car roof.
Within two years of moving into his home in the Cragganmore area of the town, he said his garden was so black it looked like it was covered in soot from burning tyres.
Fraser, dad to Megan, 7, said: “It’s horrendous, at one time the slabs started to get slime on them and it became very dangerous – my daughter fell on them.
“We gave up putting out garden gnomes and butterflies for Megan because in the space of a few months they got really black and in a year they were unrecognisable.
“We’ve been told the fungus is harmless but it’s costing me a fortune to clean.”
Clackmannanshire Council’s road team too cleans signs in Tullibody more often than it does anywhere else because of the problem.
For years, the strange phenomenon has been attributed to a whisky process known as ‘angels’ share’.
Around two per cent of each vat is released into the air while the tipple ages
– giving the angels their share.
But the Scottish Whisky Association said the black microflora is found all over the country and not only at warehouse sites.
A spokesman said it is common where the industry has no presence, for example in the south of England.
A Diageo spokesman said research into its processes has found “no direct association” between the evaporated ethanol and microflora.
He added: “If there is a change to the scientific evidence, we can assure you that the industry would consider what the most appropriate, proportionate and effective way forward might be.”
It’s the distillery/bottling plant/bonded warehouse right next door, it’s not mysterious!
The black fungus is also a problem in Menstrie. I moved into a new Bett house on the Menstrie Mains estate 4 years ago and already many houses are showing signs of the ugly black residue. It is very upsetting to see our beautiful homes scared by this awful stuff. Is there anything that can be done to prevent it?