Police called as groups flout lockdown

The mess left behind. Pic by Lewis Morrison

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Warm weather has brought out groups to beautyspots with politicians urging people not to flout restrictions.

Beer cans, burger wrappers and drinks bottles were left behind at Beinn Lora viewpoint above Benderloch, with a bench badly burnt by a barbecue.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said he had raised concerns with Police Scotland and urged people ‘not to relax their vigilance’ and maintain social distancing.

Mr Cameron said concerned residents had contacted him about groups gathering which risked spreading coronavirus.

The bug has so far killed 1,120 people in Scotland and left 1,700 in hospital, infecting nearly 9,500 people – putting NHS staff under immense strain.

‘The police can’t be everywhere and they rely on us all playing our part and strictly observing the social distancing guidelines,’ said Mr Cameron.

‘Vulnerable members of our community are relying on us to maintain strict discipline. Their welfare is priority number one.

‘We mustn’t relax now and, by showing solidarity, I am confident communities across the Highlands and Islands will come out of this crisis even stronger than before.’

Councillor Julie McKenzie, for North Oban and Lorn, said: ‘Lockdown is hard and the majority of folk in our community should be applauded for following Scottish Government guidelines.

‘Recently I’ve received many questions from constituents regarding the issue of driving to take exercise. The guidance is clear and I’m appealing to everyone to take a commonsense approach to this. Don’t drive to access exercise. Instead stay local. Walk, run or cycle directly from your home, using open spaces nearby. Avoid unnecessary travel.

‘The sooner we all comply, the sooner we will get through this crisis.’

Beinn Lora is managed by Forestry and Land Scotland.

Chief executive Simon Hodgson has appealed for people to walk locally and not travel.

‘Make your walk a local one. Do not get into your car to travel to one of the woods we manage. The walking trails within these forests will remain open but you must exercise alone or with your own household,’ he said.

The damaged bench after a barbecue during the lockdown at Beinn Lora.