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Anti-social campers are causing a nuisance in Taynuilt during Covid, with some cracking open beer cans early to avoid police moving them on.
Among the stomach churning rubbish left behind by the latest campers at the village piers were human waste, used toilet tissue, baby wipes, empty cans, broken glass, plastic straws and discarded fishing gut that could entangle and kill wildlife.
Residents are annoyed and some are feeling intimidated by the worst- overnighters who show no respect, says Libby Bryce one of the co-founders of Taynuilt Pierwatch.
According to reports on Facebook, there have been people camping near Kelly’s Pier and Taynuilt Pier almost every night in the past fortnight. Police have been informed.
At the weekend a six-man tent was spotted at the end of Kelly’s Pier with several campers on the other pier.
With signs of several fires set, Ms Bryce is worried it is only a matter of time before ‘thoughtless individuals’ use a donated picnic bench for firewood.
‘The local community have delighted in and made much use of the swing, bench and walking in the area during lockdown, but are now in the unfortunate position where they again feel intimidated and upset by the presence of individuals camping and indulging in anti-social behaviour.
People have been ‘venting’ on social media in dismay at the problem but Ms Bryce said people need to take ownership of the problem and report it to police directly and it can be done anonymously.
She said: ‘There’s been quite a few campers who’ve come and been drinking so when the police arrive they can’t be moved on because of the alcohol they’ve consumed. Some of them have even started drinking early in the morning, they know what they’re doing.
‘I completely understand that people, especially at this time, feel the urge to get away from it all and spend a few days in a beautiful area but please take any rubbish that can’t be put in the bins provided away with you, clear your firepits and leave no trace of your visit.’
Taynuilt Community Council chairman David Sloss said its message was for people to contact the police on 101 directly if they witness campers behaving badly rather than challenge or approach them by themselves.
He said the problems with campers claiming community space as their own and anti-social behaviour were not unique to Taynuilt and that other lochside and seafront communities across Argyll and Scotland experience the same.
Kelly’s Pier is privately owned by a Taynuilt resident and Taynuilt Pier belongs to an absentee landowner who lives in Switzerland. The road leading to the pier at the end of the village belongs to Argyll and Bute Council. There has been talk in the past about restricting use of that road to residents only and introducing a height restriction to stop motorhomes.
‘There’s no simple solution to the problem and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. People want to get out and with restrictions on campsites, wild camping is going to be even more popular than before.
‘The majority of campers are law abiding and cause no bother, but our message is that if people witness any anti-social behaviour they should report it to the police,’ said Mr Sloss.