Councillor condemns nail traps left on A99
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A Highland councillor condemned Saturday evening's "malicious act" in which car mats pierced with nails were placed on the A99 near Thrumster.
Wick and East Caithness councillor Raymond Bremner said he was made aware of the issue when it was posted by a member of the public on a local community association page on social media.
"I immediately called BEAR Scotland and reported the issue and followed that with a call to Police Scotland," he said.
"It is good to know that the malicious acts of some are countered by the goodwill of others who recognised the danger and removed it. BEAR Scotland committed to surveying the area for any further issues and to ensure the carriageway was safe."
The booby-trap style devices may have acted like a police stinger, or spike strip, to puncture car tyres and potentially cause a serious, if not fatal, accident. The stretch of road the devices lay on is also notorious as an accident blackspot and icy conditions prevailed at the time.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Two car mats with nails embedded in them were deliberately placed on the A99 south of Wick between Hempriggs straight and Thrumster village on Saturday, 2 January, between 7.55pm and 8.15pm.
"Thankfully, no vehicles drove over them but the consequences could have been serious."
Many condemned the act through social media postings. Richard Macleod from Wick said that whoever was responsible was "clearly twisted and deserves to be locked up", whilst Zoe Halkett wrote: "The person who did it should hang their head in shame.. and hand themselves in to the police straight away." John Bremner from Wick said the culprit must be a "very sick individual" and was "clearly unstable".
On the Highlands and Islands police division Facebook page, a post about the incident attracted hundreds of angry responses urging police to catch the perpetrator as soon as possible and the court to "dish out proper punishment".
One woman commented: "The roads were extremely dangerous with black ice last night for some idiot to put peoples lives in danger on top of the already dangerous conditions."
Councillor Bremner said he found it difficult to understand the mindset of people who would "want to endanger the lives of others" by doing such an act.
"Whoever did this, knew what they were doing and, worse than that, knew the potential consequences," he said.
"There may be folks out there in our local community who may suspect who may have done this and I would appeal to them to let the authorities know. There have been serious concerns about the safety of our roads given the number of accidents and fatalities that we have been aware of over the past period of time.
"To commit an act like this seriously compromises the safety of road users. I’d like to thank those who were involved in clearing the issue from the carriageway and highlighting it on social media where it was noticed by many in our local community. I’d also encourage anyone who comes across these issues to immediately report it to Police Scotland and BEAR Scotland who will attend to it immediately.”
Police urge the public to call 101 quoting reference NJ/6/21 if they know who was responsible or have any helpful information.