FED-UP staff at a Renfrewshire nature reserve are pleading for help to tackle vandals and litter louts who are targeting the popular beauty spot.

A number of incidents involving fireraising and litter being dumped have taken place at the RSPB reserve in Lochwinnoch during lockdown.

Police launched an investigation last month after scorch marks and debris were discovered on the floor of a bird hide a short distance away from the main building.

There have also been reports of youths gathering at the site on a number of occasions.

Dan Snowdon, warden at the reserve, told The Gazette: “This has been an ongoing problem for quite a long time but the behaviour has been worse during lockdown.

“It seems to be mainly gangs of kids and people who leave a mess when they come to fish at the reserve.

“They’ve been cutting down and burning trees, as well as leaving litter everywhere and chucking it in the water.

“We’ve had a couple of bird hides burnt down in the past, so we don’t want that to happen again.”

Inspector Allan O’Hare, head of community policing for Renfrewshire, said he is focusing more of his resources to tackle anti-social behaviour at the reserve.

He added: “I would ask members of the public who use this facility to remain vigilant and immediately report anything suspicious they see.”

The rise in vandalism and littering comes as workers at the reserve try to encourage more wildlife to live and breed there.

A new pool and bird-nesting rafts were installed recently to create more habitat for feathered friends and help visitors recognise the importance of green spaces.

This year, staff also plan to create more ‘edge’ habitat, where one habitat type meets another, to attract migrating wading birds.