In June 1943 the Newtongrange Home Guard were placed on high alert, not to face an expected German Invasion, but to search along with large numbers of Police for three Lewis machine guns and 1000 rounds of ammunition that had been stolen from their store. The theft caused great consternation, was it 5th Columnists or perhaps gangsters who had taken them. Either way they were dangerous weapons and in the wrong hands would cause mayhem.
After a widespread search of the Red Woods, the weapons were found concealed in a culvert within the woods, near to derelict gates down by the bridge over the South Esk, the culvert can be seen today but the vegetation obscures much of it.
The guns had been assembled and were ready to fire but had not been used, the whole incident was treated very seriously with several detectives being allocated to the case. After much door knocking and a spot of cage rattling’ of local criminals a breakthrough was made and Newtongrange Police arrested three local youths, Thomas Amos from Bryans Avenue, a habitual trouble maker and two unamed juveniles. All three were charged with the theft and appeared in court. Amos admitted the theft and his sentence was deferred to 11th June, 1943. The case against the juveniles was continued at the juvenile court.