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Stolen tree sparks police probe at nature reserve

By Alasdair Fraser

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The stump of a tree stolen from Merkinch Local Nature Reserve
The stump of a tree stolen from Merkinch Local Nature Reserve

POLICE are investigating after vandals chopped down and stole timber from Merkinch Local Nature Reserve.

The culprits who stole at least one tree have been accused of disturbing and endangering nesting birds and fledglings.

The incident at the much-loved beauty spot was reported to Police Scotland on Thursday last week.

Reserve project manager Caroline Snow was dismayed by the act of vandalism in an area where conservationists have worked hard to allow nature to flourish.

She said: “You’d hope for the greater good people would do the decent thing and just leave things be. It really disappoints me.

“It’s not common land and there for everyone just to go and help themselves. If everyone did that, it wouldn’t be there for the rest of us.

“I just think it is a great shame. There are so many nesting birds, some fledgling and some still sitting on nests.

“I don’t know if that tree had anything nesting in it, but it’s a disturbance to the other birds as well.”

Outraged locals condemned the act on social media.

A police spokesperson said: “We received a report on Thursday April that trees had been stolen from a nature reserve on Kessock Road, Inverness.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”

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