Campaign to protect Park
AN annual campaign to protect the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond during the summer months has been launched.
Now in its fifth year, Operation Ironworks is a six-month initiative led by Central Scotland Police and is run in partnership with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Forestry Commission Scotland, Strathclyde Police and Tayside Police.
Leading the operation, Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater of Central Scotland Police, said: "This is the fifth year of Operation Ironworks and we are keen to build upon the success of previous years.
"Excellent work was also carried out in Balloch Castle Country Park, the west side of Loch Lomond and the islands and the Trossachs. This led to a decrease in damage to the environment and a reduction in the fear of crime"
"Last year saw the introduction of byelaws on East Loch Lomond. One of these prohibits the public consumption of alcohol on a year round basis.
"The other byelaw restricts informal camping between March 1 to October 31.
"These byelaws, combined with significant improvements to infrastructure and the patrols by rangers supported by police officers made a huge difference to the area, with a marked reduction in anti-social behaviour.
"It was noticeable that many families returned to the area as they felt that it was a safer place to visit and enjoy."
Police officers across the area of the park will again be working closely with colleagues from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Forestry Commission Scotland throughout the season to ensure that residents and visitors to the area are kept safe and can fully enjoy the amenities that the National Park has to offer.
Bridget Jones, National Park visitor experience manager, added: "The National Park is already starting to get busy with visitors being brought out by the early burst of sunshine.
" It is great to be able to provide support and work alongside the three police forces that cover the park area to ensure our visitors feel safe and welcome when enjoying Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the wide range of opportunities it has to offer.
"The combined efforts of our ranger service and the police patrolling will make sure visitors are welcomed and it will also act as a deterrent to the minority that can spoil areas through acts of anti-social behaviour."
Targeted high visibility patrols by officers on foot and in vehicles will be carried out at key times and locations. Officers from communities policing will be supported by specialist colleagues from the Roads Policing Unit and Dog Section.
The water and islands on Loch Lomond will be patrolled by officers from Strathclyde Police Marine Unit, Central Scotland Police Underwater Search Unit and National Park Rangers.
To report matters of antisocial behaviour any of the agencies involved can be contacted or information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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