Wild campers who descended on Highland Perthshire had to be moved by police.
Local residents reported the first wave of 2021 wild campers after a summer of chaos last year.
Dirty camping proved a thorn in the side of communities across the area last summer, with hundreds of campers travelling to Lochs Tay, Tummel and Rannoch and the surrounding area from all over the country.
Council teams, police, firefighters and community groups tried to manage the situation, but roads were regularly blocked with droves of visitors every weekend as complaints were issued over mess, fires left raging, and wildlife put at risk.
At the weekend, the latest group of campers were reported to police, having set up their tents in the Foss area.
Despite the ongoing lockdown, no fines were issued by police.
Now, locals are calling for an early clampdown before the issue spirals out of control for another year.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 8.10pm on Friday February 26 2021, we received a report of a small group of people wild camping in the area of Foss Road, Pitlochry.
“Officers attended and the group dispersed. No further action was required.
“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance, but we will not hesitate to continue to use our enforcement powers as a last resort.”
The early visitors have sparked calls for concerted action to prevent the same problems reoccurring this season.
Pitlochry and Moulin community council chairman Jim Laurenson says that plans to help limit the damage caused by dirty camping this summer remain at an early stage.
He said: “I know it has been proposed to bring in volunteer supervisors for the area. I’m not sure how far along that process is.
“We’ve got a community council meeting on Monday and we might get an update then.
“Last year, it was a very big issue.
“It was horrendous, people were coming in droves and leaving a hell of a mess.
“It’s not a vast community so people feel vulnerable. I’m worried it will be worse this year.”
Politicians are also concerned that this is in breach of the “stay at home” guidance issued by the Scottish Government.
Perth and North Perthshire SNP MP, Pete Wishart said: “Last year we had significant issues with people who were involved in anti-social behaviour whilst using their legitimate right to camp in the wilds of Scotland.
“I am pleased that a number of organisations have been brought together to work collaboratively on this, as I think we could have another challenging year on our hands.
“It is clearly disappointing to hear that police have already been called out to speak to people camping in Highland Perthshire, given that nobody should currently be spending an evening away from home unless it is essential.
“I sincerely hope that this is not a taste of what is to come this year and that we can effectively communicate with people that when travel is allowed, they should only do so when following all the rules under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”
Highland Perthshire councillor Mike Williamson added: “I have said from the very beginning that we need a joined-up approach to this, as you have to balance the ability for people to come and enjoy our wonderful countryside, with the expectation of locals that this will be done in a responsible and sensitive manner.
“We are trying to ensure that we can all continue to enjoy our wonderful countryside, but in a sustainable and law abiding manner.”
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said nobody should be camping as the area is still in lockdown.
“Last year saw an unprecedented number of people visit Perth and Kinross beauty spots and this year is likely to be busy once again,” they added.
“While we always welcome responsible visitors to Perth and Kinross, we are working across a number of areas to reduce the impact caused by the minority who behave irresponsibly.
“Perth and Kinross Council is working in partnership with Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and other agencies on a Visitor Management Working Group to manage the 2021 season.
“Its work will focus on three areas: engagement, enforcement and infrastructure. As part of this we will be creating new signage and information posters to provide advice to visitors and residents alike.
“Additionally, we are making parking improvements to alleviate congestion and providing better bin provision to reduce the impact of litter. We have also secured more than £300,000 of funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to improve facilities at the Loch Leven Heritage Trail.”
Residents can contact the group via email on firstname.lastname@example.org to raise any concerns or make suggestions.