Natalie Don MSP is encouraging people to take care of the safety buoys that have been installed along various parts of the River Gryffe in Bridge of Weir and Houston.

The life belts, which were donated by the Glasgow Humane Society were installed after a campaign led by local residents following the tragic death of 13-year-old William McNally in Houston.

The lifebelts also include new GPS signage that can be used to confirm the exact location of an incident quickly to the emergency services.

The MSP has received complaints from concerned locals that following a period of nice weather, there have been instances where the life belts have been vandalised and thrown into the water to be found further downstream.

Natalie Don MSP said: “These life belts have been installed after a hard-fought campaign by local people and it is disappointing that people aren’t taking this seriously. This equipment could be a matter of life or death so they absolutely have to be left intact and where they are supposed to be.

“The buoys have been installed at key locations on the river, places where people are known to get in the water. With the good weather, more people have been hanging around these areas but if you are, please respect why these buoys have been installed in the first place, to prevent any further tragedies in our waters. The water can be dangerous for anyone. Underwater currents, temperature and depth can all cause difficulties, even if you think you are a strong swimmer. So please, leave this safety equipment where it should be.”

Local resident and member of the BoW Angling Club John Blair has also expressed concern about the treatment of this safety equipment.

He said: “This is totally unacceptable behaviour when we have already had tragedies on the river. Last week I replaced one of the lifebelts after finding it further downstream but there is currently a lifebelt missing from a spot in Bridge of Weir, hopefully it will be picked up downstream, but this can’t go on. The lifebelts need to be kept in place in case of an emergency and they are in these exact spots for a reason.

“They shouldn’t be tampered with either, people are messing with the ropes and some of the ropes on them in their current state, would need to be untangled before use which would be of no use in an emergency. People need to respect the reasons that these are in place and look after them.”

If you witness anyone tampering with these, please report to the police immediately on telephone number 101.

Headline image: Natalie Don MSP at one of the lifebelts along the River Gryffe

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