Loch Venachar. Photo: davidBt CC-BY-SA-3.0

Loch Venachar. Photo: davidBt CC-BY-SA-3.0

A group of campers was given an official police warning after officers discovered they had chopped down a lochside tree for their fire.

The men were camping on the south shore of Loch Venachar on Tuesday when a police patrol discovered the damage.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said it worked with the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park to encourage and promote responsible camping.

National park police officer Paul Barr said: “Cutting down trees to burn is vandalism and on this occasion the men involved were dealt with by way of a recorded warning.

“The vast majority of people who visit the area do so responsibly, but damaging trees, leaving litter or even abandoning tents in the park detracts from the natural beauty which attracts tourists in their thousands.

“Through Operation Ironworks, Police Scotland is committed to working closely with our partners in the national park and Forestry Commission to encourage appropriate use of the great outdoors and target inappropriate behaviour.”

The national park authority has faced criticism from outdoor bodies for the introduction of bylaws banning wild camping. The rules already cover a large stretch of the eastern shore of Loch Lomond but from March next year will be extended to many other lochs in the national park, including Loch Venachar.

Ramblers Scotland pointed out implementation and enforcement of existing legislation could be used to tackle the problem.

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