Scotland’s estates are on high alert after animal rights campaigners threatened to disrupt the start of the grouse season tomorrow.
On the eve of the Glorious Twelfth, concerns over possible disruption have been raised at commercial shoots across Scotland after their locations were published online.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) said there has been a recent rise in the number of attacks on moorland estates and game farms and as a result its members and shooters are on a raised alert.
Vandalism and theft have been reported to Police Scotland in the last 18 months.
An SGA spokesman said: “From the time the Scottish Government announced its review of grouse shooting in 2017, there has been an escalation of activity from campaigners and activists regarding grouse moors.
“Everyone who is participating in the 2019 season, whether a gamekeeper or a shooter, will be more vigilant than ever.”
The SGA said that in the past 18 months, one estate in the Southern Uplands has had more than 170 instances of theft or vandalism by suspected activists. The SGA said its members had also been targeted online by activists.
Police Scotland insists it takes any form of wildlife crime seriously and investigates every complaint to the force.
Robbie Marsland, Scotland director of the League Against Cruel Sports and Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, said: “This is not simply about the 12th of August.
“There is a circle of destruction that surrounds grouse moors all year round.
“Protests need to be directed at the government.”