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‘Hooligans’ strike at beauty spot

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By Euan Maxwell
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
‘Hooligans’ strike at beauty spot

THE manager of Eskrigg Nature Reserve has called out the “irresponsible hooligans” who wreaked havoc at the site on Sunday.

A bottle of hand sanitiser was taken and sprayed across the interior of the reserve’s Red Squirrel Hide and Eskrigg Centre.

It comes just days after the facilities were reopened to the public following months of closure – and is the latest in a series of vandalistic attacks on nature spots in Upper Annandale.

Eskrigg manager Jim Rae said: “We haven’t had much in the way of vandalism in recent years, it’s just been this last few weeks and I think it’s just young adults or older teenagers out showing off in front of their mates.”

In recent months thugs have defaced a memorial bench at Eskrigg and a bird hide at Moffat Community Nature Reserve was also destroyed.

“A lot of folk have suggested putting up trail cameras and all this sort of thing,” Jim added, “but all that would happen is the cameras would be damaged or stolen, so what’s the point?

“We had a bench seat damaged recently and it’s been repaired and replaced; somebody smashed our key guard for the toilet and that had to be replaced; somebody else has been putting super glue into padlocks and they’ve had to be replaced.”

Many locals reacted furiously to the mindless act; Liz West commented: “So unnecessary – what on earth do they get out of this?”

Kathleen McIlwraith added: “Disgraceful behaviour by a certain few.”

Gillian Kevans said: “How heartbreaking this must be for Jim Rae and his volunteers. Absolutely unforgivable.”

And Scott Nicholson called it “absolutely disgusting behaviour”, adding there is “no need”.

But Jim also pointed out that there’s “a lot of nice folk around”, adding that within an hour of posting about Sunday’s incident on Facebook, somebody had already donated sanitiser to replace the bottle that was stolen and misused.

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