A furious dog walker has described the increased littering in a Moray town as “shameful” after her dog almost lost her leg after stepping on broken glass.
Since lockdown was eased hundreds of visitors have flocked to picturesque Moray communities such as Hopeman.
But while most have acted responsibly, locals have voiced concerns about large visitors numbers causing traffic congestion and leading to littering, dog fouling and low level anti-social behaviour.
Local politicians have expressed their own concerns, with MP Douglas Ross saying some communities had been “overwhelmed”.
They have urged visitors to take responsibility when visiting the region – a view shared by Vicky Findlay, who was exercising rescue lurcher Wee Liz at Roseisle woods near Hopeman when 9-year-old dog injured herself on a broken bottle.
Mrs Findlay, who runs Original Walkies, has urged people to clean up their act after also coming across human waste while out on walks.
She said: “The amount of rubbish being left is dreadful and selfish. We have dogs rolling in human poop.
“Wee Liz suffered a nasty wound when we were out for a walk in Roseisle.
“She stepped into a glass bottle and it ripped right up her leg.
“It took months to heal and we were really lucky she didn’t lick the wound as it may have become infected.”
Signs urging visitors to “Leave nothing but your footprints on the beach” have been erected on the town’s beach.
To the dismay of locals, the majority of these have since destroyed.
Mrs Findlay said: “Someone put up five little signs but four of them were soon smashed up.
“Their message was an important one as some people just don’t have the common sense to pick up their rubbish.”
Local MP Douglas Ross said: “As a direct result of the pandemic this year, many have decided to have their summer holidays at home, with the outcome that many of our coastal communities have as a result been overwhelmed by the large number of visitors.
“This has clearly been welcome as businesses have seen increased trade, but there have been knock on effects that we need to try and avoid to ensure both local people and visitors can enjoy the area.
“Our ultimate aim is to be in a position to welcome those visiting and working in Hopeman, while allowing those resident here to enjoy their peaceful village.”
MSP Richard Lochhead said solutions should be found as a matter of urgency.