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Nature / Police taking action after receiving complaint over use of quad bikes on protected beach

POLICE in Shetland are to highlight and raise awareness in the community that designated seal haul out sites are protected by law.

It comes after police in Lerwick received a complaint that several groups of people were seen using motorcycles and quad bikes on Scousburgh beach throughout Sunday 16 July.

Also known as Spiggie beach, the area is not only a local beauty spot but also a nature conservation site and one of 42 designated seal haul out sites in Shetland.

Chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said a specially trained officer is currently liaising with Shetland Island Council, NatureScot, landowners and wider partners who under normal circumstances operate mechanically propelled vehicles in the area.

“Scousburgh is a haul out site and the wider community may not be aware it is protected; this will be addressed with your help and further communication and notices,” he said.

“As an organisation, we are committed to ensuring the safety of people and property, including wildlife.”

He added: “Within the Shetland area, and in particular the south of the island, several groups exist who legally and ethically operate mechanically propelled vehicles for leisure purposes and I urge people to make contact with these groups.

“The groups can advise on the best and safest ways to use dirt bikes and quads. The groups exist as Shetland Motocross and are contactable via a Facebook page.

“In the meantime, we will also add the area to our patrol plans over the coming months.”

The issue of potentially disturbing seals lying on beaches is a re-occurring news item.

In December 2021, Karen Hall of the local NatureScot office appealed to the public to respect the law after the nearby Rerwick beach appeared to have been used as a playground for people on quad bikes.

Renewed appeal not to disturb seals on Rerwick beach

Chief inspector Clemenson meanwhile asked for anyone who observes such activities to either call police on telephone 101 or to contact them via the portal on the Police Scotland website.

Both routes to contact police are totally confidential, he added.

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