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Horror mask and metal poles among items dumped over cliff-tops at historic Caithness castle


By Alan Hendry

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Highland Council has warned of the "eye-watering" cost of dealing with illegal dumping after the latest outbreak of fly-tipping on the Caithness coast.

Metal poles, rusty tins, part of a corrugated sheet, a galvanised pail and a horror mask based on a character from the Friday the 13th film series were among the items thrown over cliff-tops close to the historic Castle of Old Wick.

The area around the 860-year-old castle has been targeted by illegal dumpers in the past.

Photos of some of the objects discarded in the latest incident were taken by a member of the public while out for a walk on Monday morning.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “Reports of fly-tipping are investigated by officers from the council’s environmental health service, in conjunction with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Police Scotland.

"Where the parties responsible are identified, appropriate enforcement action will be taken. This could involve a fixed monetary penalty of £200 or, in more serious cases, a fine of up to £40,000.

"Anyone coming across incidents of fly-tipping can report it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using our website at www.highland.gov.uk/report

The Castle of Old Wick is one of the oldest castles in the country and is cared for by Historic Environment Scotland but the area around it has been targeted by illegal dumpers.
The Castle of Old Wick is one of the oldest castles in the country and is cared for by Historic Environment Scotland but the area around it has been targeted by illegal dumpers.

“Dealing with litter and fly-tipping costs an eye-watering £53 million of public money in Scotland every year, and that’s only in relation to public land. This money could be better spent elsewhere, particularly at this time.

"Dealing with fly-tipping also diverts our staff from carrying out work in local communities. All our recycling centres are open so there is no excuse.

"We ask everyone to enjoy the public spaces and the outdoors responsibly. Please do not leave litter behind, use litter bins where provided, or take your litter home.”

Built by Harald Maddadson around the 1160s, the Castle of Old Wick is cared for by Historic Environment Scotland.

In February there was an outcry at a meeting of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council after it emerged that a large pile of rubble and building waste had been deposited over the cliffs. At the same time, a large vehicle had left a wide expanse of ground in a badly churned-up state.

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