WITH its natural beauty, East Lothian is a natural draw for campers.

Great beaches and rolling hills call out to them and there are many great campsites both large and small throughout the county, catering for RVs, caravans or for those that prefer being under canvas or whatever material tents are made of now.

Providing a professional service and offering good facilities, they maintain the site and the surrounding area, as well as offering employment to locals.

There’s always been some who prefer ‘wild camping’, or less organised and away from the crowds, however some of it is those who take off for remote walking or cycling.

For others it is just the pitching of tents or parking vehicles, as agreed with a farmer, in a designated location or in a place that no harm will be caused.

It’s perfectly reasonable, good fun for those involved and has been done through the generations. They know what they’re doing and look after the environment they are visiting.

But there is a new crowd that has appeared who forsake the established sites and are pitching or parking up wherever they choose.

They lack the awareness of the old wild campers and are abusing the environment they’re meant to be enjoying.

It’s gone far beyond the odd idiot who ignored the hard work of a farmer in pursuit of their own self-indulgence. This is far worse and on a far greater scale.

It is cost free for them but expensive for those left to clean up after them, never mind the damage they leave behind.

It’s not just remote sites but even noted beauty spots that are now being trashed. Rubbish is discarded, waste left, trees chopped down and even tents abandoned after use.

These groups should be reported to the authorities and action taken against them.

Our natural environment needs protection from the minority who harm it.