A COMMUNITY farm that offers people the chance to embrace nature has temporarily closed after volunteers suffered abuse for trying to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Trisha Craig, boss at Lamont Farm, took the “difficult decision” to shut amid concerns over the abuse and the prospect of visitors from outside Renfrewshire unwittingly bringing coronavirus with them.

The Erskine institution had enjoyed high footfall since reopening in July but management decided to adopt a ‘safety first’ approach even before yesterday’s announcement by the Scottish Government that Renfrewshire is being moved into the toughest ‘level four’ lockdown restrictons.

Trisha, 37, said efforts to enforce Covid guidelines, including asking visitors to wear masks in all areas at the farm, prompted an angry reaction from some –and she feared the situation would get worse if she had to turn people away because of their postcode.

She told The Gazette: “In recent weeks, there has been a lot of verbal abuse. You need to have some hard skin about you to endure some of this stuff but our volunteers are quite young and we are only trying to do what is advised.

“One was called stupid the other day because she asked somebody to wear a mask.

“We feel there would be a bigger risk of it escalating if we have to say to someone from the likes of Coatbridge ‘no, you can’t come in’ but then turn to someone else and say ‘you can come in because you stay down the road’.”

Renfrewshire is currently in level four of Scotland’s five-tier system, along with the likes of East Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

Trisha said the self-imposed lockdown at the farm, which has been popular with visitors from across Renfrewshire and beyond for more than 40 years, will be reviewed on a regular basis.