Police in the Borders are appealing to parents to warn their children about the dangers of drinking alcohol in rural locations.
The plea comes following a recent surge in the number of youths who are gathering in areas of countryside to camp overnight and consume alcohol.
Groups in excess of 50 youths, aged between 13 and 20, have been using social media to arrange to meet on the outskirts of Galashiels, and Police Scotland has subsequently had to deal with associated drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.
“The issues of youths drinking and camping out at weekends are not new but, given the large number involved in recent weeks, my concerns have been raised,” explained Local Community Inspector Tony Hodges.
“In particular, we are worried about the safety of the younger children involved given the diverse ages and backgrounds of those who are gathering.
“I would ask parents to ensure they know where their children are going at weekends as well as speaking with them about the potential risks associated with over consumption of alcohol in isolated rural locations.”
Local officers will be stepping up patrols in those areas known to have been frequented by youths in recent weeks, and Police Scotland will be taking a robust approach to any offences in an effort to keep these young people safe.
Inspector Hodges added: “Anyone who has any knowledge of such pre-planned events can contact us on the non-emergency number 101 or alternatively in confidence via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.”