A leading figure in the government's heritage body has said "graffiti intervention" at Pollphail village in Argyll changed the significance of a so-called ghost village.

The abandoned 1970s oil village of Pollphail in the Cowal peninsula in Argyll – built for a local boom that didn't happen and now razed to make way for a distillery - sat unloved for decades.

Dr Alex Hale, an archaeologist in the survey and recording department at Historic Environment Scotland was brought in to document the village, but the heritage body failed to save te crumbling icon.

He said: "Over the past 40 years the terms ‘eyesore’, ‘ruin’ and ‘ghost village’ have all been applied to Pollphail during its abandoned lifespan.

"But underlying the story of decay and attempted rejuvenation projects, lies a different story: the hidden significance of an abandoned village and the unforeseen outcomes of artistic interventions at abandoned places.

"But as time moved on little happened apart from water ingress, damp encroached and the village took on the usual façade of decay.

"However, in 2009, a group of artists known as Agents of Change (@wearetheaoc) were invited by the owner to come to the village. Their work transformed the grey-harled exteriors and mouldy interiors.

"Their creative responses to walls the village presented to them ranged from painted mono-chrome figures to compositions by all six artists. They collaborated on gable-end murals and by the end of their three day intervention they had created over 80 pieces of work across the village."

He said: "After Agents of Change visited the site other graffiti artists painted further contributions and the sense of a burgeoning gallery at Pollphail prevailed. Visitors came from across the world to visit the ‘ghost village’ and it became a popular destination for locals and visitors.

"In 2016, Historic Environment Scotland recorded the village and the graffiti through photography and site survey.

"At the end of 2016 the village was demolished for a re-development scheme that will see a distillery, brewery and houses being built."

He added: "Pollphail illustrates that some ruins will never become designated sites, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important to people and significant to others.

"In the case of Pollphail it was the intervention by Agents of Change in 2009 that changed the significance of the abandoned ruin.

"From the story of Pollphail it would appear that graffiti art can have an effect on people, which changes their idea of the significance of a place."