Campers charged after leaving ‘devastating’ mess in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park

More than 20 people have been charged after leaving bags full of rubbish at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park over the weekend.

Campers left behind broken glass and rubbish, as well as camping equipment such as chairs and sleeping bags.

Irreparable fire damage was also caused, with one tree so badly burned it is likely to be felled.

At one site, 19 bags of litter were collected, with a further 10 removed from another site.

National guidance in Scotland ordered people to not start camping until July 15, when the next phase of coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.

A total of 21 people have been charged under the Camping Management Byelaws 2017, which cover certain areas of the national park.

19 bags of litter were collected from one site (PA)

These are enforced by rangers and Police Scotland and can result in a fine of up to £500.

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said the pictures of the rubbish were “devastating” to see.

“Not only is this irresponsible behaviour and environmental damage a blatant breach of the byelaws, it is also happening at a time when the national guidance is that people shouldn’t be going camping at all,” he said.

“While I can understand people’s desire to get out and enjoy the outdoors after such a long time being in lockdown, I cannot understand why anyone would think it’s OK to destroy the place they’ve visited in this way.

“We cannot replace nature easily or at the speed we are seeing it destroyed.”

Mr Watson added: “The message is clear, people should not be camping right now and we are working extremely closely with our partners in Police Scotland to take action against this type of damaging behaviour when we need to.”

The campers caused irreparable fire damage (PA)

Police Chief Inspector Gill Marshall said: “These offences related to the setting up of unofficial camps, setting fires, and causing damage to the environment, including fire damage to trees which occurred across South Loch Earn, Loch Venacher and the Loch Ard area.

“There were also unacceptable levels of littering.

“We want everyone to enjoy the experience of the National Park and this has been the case for the majority.

“Unfortunately, a small number of visitors have failed to respect the local environment and community.”

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