A north development trust has criticised the irresponsible behaviour of visitors after a world-famous landmark was damaged.
Image have appeared online of people climbing the famous signpost at John O’Groats.
John O’Groats Development Trust (JOGDT) has said it is delighted with the number of visitors over the past few weeks, helping to reboot the economy and tourism industry, however, the influx has brought with it some “very challenging issues”.
The Orkney fingerpost of the sign was broken off, with the trust also highlighting that some hand gel dispensers have also been damaged.
Images on social media have shown visitors hanging from the sign with the damage thought to have been caused by this method.
A post on social media from JOGDT stated: “It really is such a shame when a few clowns ruin things for hundreds of others”.
JOGDT said the signpost had only been restored and painted earlier this year at a considerable cost.
Now the trust say they will now have to repeat the process “thanks to some thoughtless folk”.
Andrew Mowat, treasurer of JOGDT and operator of the Seaview Hotel, said the damage is understood to have taken place sometime between 5am and 7.30am on Tuesday morning.
Mr Mowat said: “Whatever happened to bring it down, had somebody been below it would have been a catastrophe.
“It is a solid lump of steel that for an older person or a child it would have been probably death.”
In a post shared on their Facebook page, JOGDT shared examples of people swinging from the sign, however, has established that those highlighted were not the culprits who brought the fingerpost tumbling down.
Mr Mowat has said some have been in contact to apologise, even donating funds to assist with the repair.
The sign has since been restored to its full glory with local firm Caithness Creels offering their welding services free of charge, saving the trust approximately £500.
He added: “It will need a wee drop of paint and needs to be touched up a bit but at least it is all back intact again.
“The people have done wrong, they shouldn’t have done it but they didn’t mean any harm. They never set out to break it and they were just being a bit daft.
“It would have cost a fortune to replace the fingerpost if someone had gone away with it.
“Most people are responsible.
“In all the years I have lived here and been involved in business and the trust here, I can’t say I have ever seen anyone swing from it until it was brought to our attention that there are several social media posts of people swinging from it.
“We are striving the whole time to move forward and all the businesses are working in unison to make things better for everyone that comes and create that better experience.
“We want to attract people here and we want the message to be; please come here but please be respectful.”
Local MP Jamie Stone said he was saddened to learn of the incident.
He said: “Vandalism of this type is the last thing we want in an increasingly competitive tourism market.
“The hallmark of quality is what is going to win tourists in the future and if a reputation for vandalism and yobbish behaviour gets out that is completely counterproductive.
“The sign and John O’Groats are close to my heart and it is very disappointing.
“At the end of the day, peoples jobs in the area are underpinned by tourism and it is really bad if people damage the product.”