One of Clydesdale’s most popular beautyspots, Lanark Loch, could become the scene of a tragedy due to a series of thoughtless and dangerous thefts.
In the past six months no less than 24 lifebelts have been stolen from the lochside path, seven of them in the past fortnight alone.
Although the bill to the taxpayer of replacing them has been almost £1,400, the possible cost of a human life is what is really worrying a local councillor.
Clydesdale North SNP councillor Julia Marrs, known for her child safety campaigns, has warned that what might seem like just a prank to those responsible might turn out to be a far from harmless one.
She told the Gazette: “I am extremely angry that lifebelts are being stolen at Lanark Loch.
“What is probably seen as a jaunt by the perpetrators could have a serious, potentially life-threatening impact if lifebelts are missing.
“Coupled with the litter left from anti-social behaviour, it is a real shame such a gem of the Lanark area is being spoiled.
“I am pleased that South Lanarkshire Council’s problem solving team, Land Services and local Police are working together to look at this issue, and that lifebelts are being replaced quickly to ensure safety, but clearly this has to be stopped.
If any member of the public is able to supply information, I would encourage them to do so, by phoning Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111,” she said.
She added that the council is sending mobile CCTV units to the lochside to identify those responsible and are cleaning upthe empty cans and bottles which are spoiling the loch woodland and parkland.