LADDERS have been installed down drains in a bid to save amphibians and reptiles from a "slow, lingering death".

The equipment has been put in place at two sites in Dundee and Carnoustie after concern that frogs, toads and newts were being trapped under ground level with no means of escape.

A total of 37 ladders which are made of steel sheets and bent to form a gradual incline before being covered in jute have been installed to allow the reptiles to climb up to the underside of the drain cover.

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Friends of Angus Herpetofauna, a group set up to monitor amphibian and reptile species, have been given permission by Angus Council to fit the ladders. During their work to install the ladders, they found 20 frogs, 30 toads and six newts at the two sites. The animals were all released at nearby breeding ponds.

Trevor Rose, of Friends of Angus Herpetofauna, said: "Hundreds of thousands of amphibians die a slow, lingering death in gulleypots every year in the UK.

"It is hoped, if the ladders are proved to be a successful solution, that they could be fitted to gulleypots everywhere and provide amphibians with a fighting chance of escape, and help to halt the decline their ever-falling numbers."

The Friends of Angus Herpetofauna group had previously launched a fight against a cycling path amid concerns that it would affect a lizard habitat. Angus Council altered the route slightly in response to the complaints.