MORE support is needed to tackle anti-social behaviour, Scotland's forestry body said after staff were abused by aggressive campers who kicked ducks and axed trees.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) made the appeal after police were called to deal with a small group of young men camping at Glenmore in the Cairngorms National Park last weekend.

Other campers witnessed the group kicking ducks, collecting deadwood from environmentally designated areas, using an axe on trees, and washing in a loch which is also designated for environmental protection. Complaints were also made about noise and litter from the men.

Staff spoke to the group but were met with abuse.

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The FLS said Police Scotland officers spoke to the men but the group “put on a show of good behaviour” and then simply moved their camp site.

Laura McNally, FLS’s area visitor services manager, said: “Situations such as this can be very intimidating for our staff and I have to commend our Glenmore team for dealing with this so professionally over the course of three days.

“We engaged with the group of young men on Saturday to explain why they had to move their camp and to clarify appropriate behaviours but this fell on deaf ears and was met with abuse. Further engagement met with the same response.

“Police Scotland did attend and the group seemed to comply, but simply moved their camp.

“We’ve also seen other groups put on a show of good behaviour when they have to and we continue to work closely with our local police partners to learn lessons from this event.”

She added: “Anti-social behaviour by a small group can spoil a visit for everyone else. This is the case no matter where it occurs.

“Our rangers will do what they can to manage a situation but public support is vital, especially if the rangers aren’t in the area at the time. We would encourage members of the public to call Police Scotland on 101 or use the online form.

“Concerted action raises the profile of incidents, provide Police Scotland with a detailed understanding of the issues and provide them with the intelligence they need to marshal their resources appropriately.”

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Maree Morrison, recreation ranger for FLS in Glenmore, added: “We try to offer a really great experience for visitors, and we do so by providing advice and looking out for public safety and environmental protection. This ensures that future visitors will be able to enjoy this beautiful area.

“We have a huge number of staff on site this year to help visitors who might not have visited the area before, to understand what ‘responsible access’ means.”

She added that “some people simply don’t understand what’s OK and what’s not” but that “most of the time it’s a great job, speaking to such a diverse crowd”.