Fly-tippers who have brazenly dumped dozens of tyres at a beauty spot on Speyside have been branded “cowboys”.
About 50 of the discarded rubber tubes have been discarded next to the banks of the river near Fochabers.
It is understood the blight was dumped next to the leafy path that is popular with dog walkers several days ago.
Yesterday the tyres remained at the lay-by on the B9104 Spey Bay road while locals arrived for weekend walks by the river.
Last night, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead condemned those who choose to dump rubbish at the region’s most scenic locations, which could attract of fine of up to £50,000 and a spell in prison.
He said: “This is despicable behaviour by a bunch of cowboys who no doubt charge customers for their services but then refuse to dispose of their waste responsibly.
“I urge anyone who knows who may be responsible to contact the authorities.
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“As a society we need to do all we can to tackle this kind of environmental vandalism.”
Tyres have repeatedly been reported dumped at secluded spots across the region in recent years including about 200 near Burghead about two years ago and smaller amounts near Lossiemouth, Duffus and Spey Bay.
The rubber waste is not accepted at any council dump due to legislation forbidding their disposal in landfill sites – leading to people seeking alternative means to get rid of them.
Moray Council has previously warned of increased amounts of larger piles of rubbish being dumped in secluded spots across the region.
Disposing of waste dumped illegally across the region, including fridges, washing machines and scrap metal, has been estimated to cost the authority about £10,000 per year while the bill is estimated to stack up to more than £8.9million across Scotland.
A spokeswoman for Moray Council confirmed the tyres had been reported to its officers.
She said: “It’s on land belonging to the Forestry Commission, which has been notified.”