No smoke without fire at Beecraigs Country Park

Concerns have been raised at a perceived rise in fires started and antisocial behaviour in Beecraigs Country Park during the Covid lockdown.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 12:56 pm
The fires at Beecraigs Country Park on August 2. Photo by Ronnie Anderson.

Ronnie Anderson was out walking in the park on August 2, at 8.45pm, with his friend Campbell Maver when they saw fires lit by the loch.

Recalling the incident, Ronne said: “My mate and I witnessed a large family group set-up a large fire on the north side of Beecraigs. After passing we looked over to see another fire on the south side of the loch. I called the police on 101 and held on for 25 minutes without getting an answer. When we were leaving the park the fire was still going strongly, to me this is wilful fire-raising.”

Ronnie believes there has been a growing number of antisocial incidents in the park during the lockdown period.

He said: “A month ago I saw a group of youths had camped overnight near the lock and left behind quilts, rugs and beer cans. Between the police and Beecraigs staff they need to stamp this out quickly.

“The park is getting wrecked by small minded people who are taking advantage of this Covid-19 situation.”

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “There have been many incidents across West Lothian’s countryside over lockdown period and as the lockdown measures have eased. There have been public access issues, irresponsible behaviour (such as illegal fires, groups of youths drinking in the country parks, illegal fishing) and other issues with the public not adhering to current Scottish Government guidelines.

“We will not tolerate inappropriate behaviour within our parks and will take the necessary action if we are in attendance at that time.

“However we’d appeal always to members of the public to plan outdoor visits in advance, avoid busy areas, understand what you can and cannot do in the areas you visit, and ensure you follow current Scottish Government guidance, for the health and safety of both public and staff.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The 101 non-emergency number is for the public to use in situations that don’t require an immediate policing response.

“This can reduce pressure on the 999 system, allowing us to prioritise the most urgent calls for help.

“A list of ways to contact us can be found on the Police Scotland website.”