Campers have trashed an Angus beauty spot by vandalising the grounds of an historic 200-year-old mill, setting fire to camping equipment and using parts of the site as a makeshift toilet.
Volunteers at Barry Mill, close to Carnoustie, have voiced their frustration and disgust after the campers descended on the popular National Trust Scotland site over the weekend.
The group are even thought to have ordered take-away pizzas to be delivered before leaving the mill site on Sunday strewn with piles of bottles, cans and food cartons.
Several tents as well as a range of other camping equipment including chairs and a table were left behind by the youths, who had also set fires in the area.
Numerous parts of the grounds were also used as impromptu toilets, with human faeces found across the site.
‘It’s disgusting to see’
Steven Burke, a member of the Friends of Barry Mill Group for the past eight years and NTS volunteer, said this latest incident was the worst he had seen during lockdown.
He said: “It’s disgusting to see the grounds ruined in such a senseless way and the worst in several months.
“The area has been blighted by a large mess and they even set fire to tents and camping equipment before leaving, instead of packing up and taking their belonging and rubbish with them.
“We’ve also found broken glass across the site and in the burn where bottles have been smashed.
“As part of the clean-up volunteers also had to remove numerous instances of human waste.
“It’s a great concern, as the area is a haven for a wide range of wildlife which could be adversely effected.
“In addition, Barry Mill is also used extensively by dog owners to walk their pets and we now fear they could be injured.”
Like the majority of public sites, the Mill has remained closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, however, visitors can still access the grounds.
A functioning mill is thought to have existed at the site for over 800 years with the current mill having been rebuilt in 1814 following a fire.
Barry Mill continues as a working water mill today and is described as one of the largest and best examples of its kind still in existence in Scotland.
‘We need help to protect Scotland’s heritage’
National Trust Scotland said it was “disappointed” by the news that irresponsible campers had targeted the site.
A spokesman said: “We were really disappointed to see the mess left behind at Barry Mill after the weekend.
“Our charity is here to protect Scotland’s heritage, but we need help to do this from everyone who visits.
“If we all follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, the places we love will stay beautiful, for everyone to enjoy.”
Police said officers attended Barry Mill on Friday and Saturday to “encourage compliance” with coronavirus restrictions.
Inspector Gary Aitken of Arbroath Police Station said: “The coronavirus regulations have had a significant impact on our lives.
“I would like to thank the vast majority of people who are sticking to the rules and doing the right thing to avoid the spread of the virus as we move through the easing of restrictions.
“On Friday, 2 April and Saturday, 3 April, we received reports of groups of youths at Barry Mill.
” Officers attended and engaged with the groups, explained the legislation and encouraged compliance. We are aware of the local concerns regarding anti-social behaviour and officers will be carrying out extra patrols around the area.
“People should not travel outwith their local authority area except for essential purposes.
“I would urge people to stay local and follow the regulations on gatherings.”