Some of the Operation Ironworks team

Some of the Operation Ironworks team

Police confiscated almost 50 litres of alcohol from teenagers in a crackdown on rowdy behaviour in a national park.

The booze was seized by officers from Central Scotland Police as part of the continuing Operation Ironworks. The alcohol was taken from a large gathering on the banks of Loch Lomond.

Police and rangers from the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park swooped on Monday after they received information that about 40 young people had gathered in Manse Bay, Balmaha. The bay is on the route of Scotland’s most popular long-distance trail, the West Highland Way.

PC Paul Barr said: “The alcohol seized included bottles of vodka, crates of beer and bottles of whisky. The teenagers were aged between 17 and18 years-old.

“The link between excessive alcohol consumption and violent and antisocial behaviour is clear. It is also a danger for people to get drunk in the vicinity of a large body of water such as Loch Lomond where accidents can easily occur. We will continue to patrol the national park and take action to minimise antisocial behaviour and keep people safe.

“This seizure undoubtedly reduced the potential for disorder and litter later in the day.”

The previous day, a man was arrested after reports of an incident involving an air weapon among a group of wild campers on the shore of Loch Venachar, west of Callander.

The 23-year-old, from Glasgow, was detained after a water bailiff spotted the incident. The man was released on bail after appearing at Stirling Sheriff Court on Monday, charged with firearms offences. One of his bail conditions is that he does not enter the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park.

Sergeant Gregor McFarlane, who is coordinating Operation Ironworks, said: “Firearms, including air weapons have no place in public.

“They should only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. The potential for injury is great. Visitors to the national park have an obligation to behave in a responsible manner. We will continue to take robust action against persons who fail to do so.”

Members of the public with concerns can contact Central Scotland Police on 01786 456000, or information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Meanwhile Ramblers Scotland have objected to the introduction of planned bylaws that would ban wild camping in the Loch Lomond and Drymen area. A consultation on the proposal closed on 3 May.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Ramblers Scotland objects to this proposal and believes instead that improved lochshore management along with control of alcohol consumption should be the priority.

“The police already have powers which do not appear to be fully used and a blanket ban on camping through bylaws seems to us to be excessive.

“We feel it is not appropriate to target all campers through bylaws which would also affect any responsible camping taking place in this area, including that by walkers on the West Highland Way.”

The walkers’ charity also said it feared landowners in other areas where camping is perceived to be a problem would push for bylaws elsewhere, citing the example of Loch Lomond.

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