An environmental watchdog investigation has been launched after two separate incidents in which large amounts of gravel were illegally extracted from the River Clyde.
The first incident occurred in summer 2022, where stones were removed from the river without permission at Lamington.
Near the same location in April this year, work is suspected to have been carried out on gravel deposits in the Clyde without authorisation again.
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) said that the incidents, although they are not believed to be connected, could have serious short and long term consequences on the water environment.
The works span a distance of approximately 500 metres, and the scale could have significant impacts on the river’s ecology, including fish spawning.
Altering the flow of a river can also lead to flooding issues both upstream and downstream.
A SEPA spokesperson said: “In response to reports from concerned members of the public, we are investigating and our field work showed visible tyre tracks from large vehicles by the river.
“Regarding both incidents, the work is likely to have taken place across a number of weeks and we’re confident someone in the local area would have seen it happening. They may have noticed large diggers or other heavy machinery, but perhaps did not suspect any foul play.
“We would strongly encourage those people to get in touch so we can hold whoever is responsible to account and hopefully prevent this from happening again.”
It is an offence under The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 to carry out engineering activities without the appropriate authorisation, and any individual or business found to have done so will be subject to enforcement action.
This could include a penalty of up to £40,000.
Anyone with information is urged to contact SEPA.