By Kelly Henaughen

MANY farmers notice an influx of visitors to their fields after a snowfall – local people wanting to sledge, but who don't have their own facilities to do so.

The majority of the time, this isn't an issue. However, when these visitors don't treat farmland with respect, and take advantage of a farmer's goodwill during a global pandemic, these situations can become problematic.

This has happened in the Ayrshire village of Straiton, and its surrounding area. With the village having been touted on wider social media as 'the best place to visit for snow and sledging', locals have seen an unprecedented number of visitors, with some holding apparently no regard for lockdown measures.

Villagers have expressed their concerns about the amount of visitors, especially over the past few weeks, and it's become increasingly evident that these visitors have been leaving their mark in the form of litter.

Local woman Tracey Armstrong explained that various issues have been raised, especially by farmers. She said: "I feel that they have enough on their plate at the moment. At times there were upwards of 50 vehicles parked on the roadside at the monument in the village, on both sides of the road. There were large groups of people sledging on the hill with no regard to social distancing, all this taking place within the new lockdown. The farmer has had to continually clear his fields of rubbish, debris and food waste for the safety of his livestock.

"There has also been sheep worrying concerns. Litter and broken sledges being left at the side of the road and also outside Straiton Primary School. The police have been informed on a number of occasions but nothing has been done," said Ms Armstrong.

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