POACHERS are targeting animals in a Cumbernauld beauty spot, it is feared – and leaving the grisly sight of carcasses in their wake.
The News has been told that the area around Cumbernauld Community Park north of the A80 has acted as a magnet for deer killers who have descended on the area with knives and possibly, rifles.
Their aim is to fatally wound the animal then strip it for its meat -thus boosting the trade in contraband venison.
The News received calls from a number of concerned residents who have found the distressing remnants of the gentle creatures who use the prized green belt to graze.
One is Balloch animal lover Marilyn King, who said that she has found no fewer than five deer heads lying scattered on the ground in the past year - after the poachers have done their worst.
Marilyn said: ‘‘It is such a horrible thing to find.
“This has been a professional job.
“There was hardly any meat left on the animal.
“It breaks your heart to see it.”
Marilyn added: “Perhaps if anyone is offered venison on the cheap, they might want to think twice about it.
“Hopefully bringing this to peoples’ attention may block this trade off.”
And it has emerged that trading standards officers in North Lanarkshire are well aware of the problem- and are doing their utmost to crack down on it.
A spokesperson said: “The council carries out routine inspections of butchers, including checking the source of the meat on sale.
“We would advise the public only to buy meat from a reputable provider.”
Meanwhile the barbaric act has sparked condemnation from the hard-working community group who have made it their job to cultivate the park for the fullest public use.
Mike Ogden who is treasurer of Friends of Cumbernauld Community Park said: ‘‘It is shocking and disgusting to hear about this.
“The park exists for the good of the community and the wildlife there is part and parcel of that.”
He added: “Sadly there is just absolutely nothing we can do about it either as we do not have the resources to marshall the park.”
Meanwhile a leading animal welfare charity has has also spoken out about the disturbing trend.
Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, “Poaching is a barbaric practice and a serious offence.
“It can cause a great deal of suffering to the animals especially if dogs are used.”
He added: “We would urge anyone who has information regarding poaching in the area to contact the police.”
nAnyone who has further information on these distressing incidents is asked to contact Cumbernauld Police on 503900.
Alternatively Crimestoppers can be called free and in confidence on 0800 555 111.