Forestry staff abused by campers who ‘kicked ducks and axed trees’

Forestry and Land Scotland has asked for help in dealing with antisocial behaviour.

Forestry staff abused by campers who ‘kicked ducks and axed trees’ PA Ready

Scotland’s forestry body has called for more support in tackling antisocial behaviour after staff were abused by aggressive campers who reportedly kicked ducks, axed trees and damaged the environment.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) made the appeal after police were called to deal with a small group of young men camping at Glenmore in the Cairngorms National Park over the weekend of June 26.

Other campers allegedly witnessed the group kicking ducks, collecting deadwood from environmentally designated areas, using an axe on trees, and washing in a loch which is also designated for environmental protection.

Complaints were also made about noise and litter from the men.

Staff spoke to the group but were reportedly met with abuse.

The FLS said Police Scotland officers spoke to the men but the group “put on a show of good behaviour” and then simply moved their campsite.

Laura McNally, FLS’s area visitor services manager, said: “Situations such as this can be very intimidating for our staff and I have to commend our Glenmore team for dealing with this so professionally over the course of three days.

“We engaged with the group of young men on Saturday to explain why they had to move their camp and to clarify appropriate behaviours but this fell on deaf ears and was met with abuse. Further engagement met with the same response.

“Police Scotland did attend and the group seemed to comply, but simply moved their camp.

“We’ve also seen other groups put on a show of good behaviour when they have to and we continue to work closely with our local police partners to learn lessons from this event.

“Antisocial behaviour by a small group can spoil a visit for everyone else. This is the case no matter where it occurs.

“Our rangers will do what they can to manage a situation but public support is vital, especially if the rangers aren’t in the area at the time.

“We would encourage members of the public to call Police Scotland on 101 or use the online form.

“Concerted action raises the profile of incidents, provide Police Scotland with a detailed understanding of the issues and provide them with the intelligence they need to marshal their resources appropriately.”

Maree Morrison, recreation ranger for FLS in Glenmore, added: “We try to offer a really great experience for visitors, and we do so by providing advice and looking out for public safety and environmental protection. This ensures that future visitors will be able to enjoy this beautiful area.

“We have a huge number of staff on site this year to help visitors who might not have visited the area before understand what ‘responsible access’ means.”

She added that “some people simply don’t understand what’s okay and what’s not”, but “most of the time it’s a great job, speaking to such a diverse crowd”.

Police Scotland said there were no arrests in relation to the incident.

A spokeswoman said: “Officers attended at Glenmore on Saturday, June 26 following reports of antisocial behaviour. A group of people were provided suitable advice.

“Officers will be carrying out additional patrols in the area this weekend and will work alongside local rangers to support their patrols and discourage any antisocial behaviour.”

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