ANGRY valley residents in upper Yarrow are calling for action after several beauty spots have become tarnished by litter louts and careless campers.

And a public meeting is set to take place next month between locals, Police Scotland and Scottish Borders Council in a bid to stamp out the rise in illegal camping and rowdy revellers on the shores of St Mary's Loch and the neighbouring Loch of the Lowes.

An agreement is in place between for the local authority to empty bins and clean the toilets on the land owned by Wemyss and March Estates.

But gangs have continued to pull up for weekends of drinking and fishing - and often leaving behind an unsightly mess.

Just last week one local filled five bags with rubbish gathered from Oxcleuch Haugh as well as finding a knife and many smashed bottles discarded on the shores.

A spokesman for Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council, who will host next month's meeting, stated: "We have been in discussions with Scottish Borders Council, Police Scotland, and the landowners as well as key representatives of the local community to find a solution to the problem.

"We have suggested that Scottish Borders Council provides an extra bin at the Loch of the Lowes as well putting bins in the lay-bys beside St Mary’s Loch."

Among the other proposals being put forward is for the Community Council to match fund, along with the local authority, a seasonal warden to monitor the problem areas.

And calls are also being made for recently introduced charging at the nearby public toilets, which sit across from Oxcleuch Haugh, to be scrapped.

The spokesperson added: "We have written to the leader of Scottish Borders Council asking them to reverse the recent introduction of charging for the toilets beside the Glen Café."

The St Mary's Loch Fishing Club, which operates a permit system in the area, has recently introduced a zero-tolerance policy on litter.

And River Tweed bailiffs have been asked to carry out evening patrols in a bid to stamp out the illegal fishing gangs who often camp on the banks.

Selkirkshire councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol is encouraging everyone who has an interest in preserving the lochside beauty spots to attend next month's meeting.

She told us: "We need to prevent this type of behaviour and we need to work together to find solutions.

"I would urge anyone who has an interest in the issue to come along and air their views and suggestions."

Scottish Borders Council bosses confirmed they will attend the meeting.

A spokesperson said: “Oxcleuch Haugh picnic site is owned by Wemyss and March Estates and is managed as a picnic site by the council, in agreement with the estate.

“The agreement sees the council empty the bin at the site - and the immediate area around the bin – generally every weekday and once every weekend, if the bin is full.

“It is a popular site used by the public for picnicking and under the Land Reform Act, the public have a right to camp responsibly here and in the wider countryside.

"Responsible camping includes taking away all litter, removing all traces of your tent pitch and any open fire and not to cause pollution. We would appeal to campers to follow this guidance to maintain this scenic location.”

The public meeting to address to growing problems around the lochs will take place at Cappercleugh Hall on Tuesday, September 12 from 7pm.