Vandals have struck at a controversial bollards put in place to block vehicles from using a link road at Lossiemouth Harbour.
Thousands have protested against the move by the Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour Board to block the road linking the east and west harbours in the town, which has been freely used by traffic for generations.
Over 12,000 people have now signed online and offline petitions protesting the move, with crunch talks between local community representatives and the Harbour Board ending last week with a promise that further consideration would be given to the road.
However, at the weekend vandals took matters into their own hands, spray-painting a safety sign with graffiti and using bolt cutters to remove one of the bollards.
The vandalism was condemned by community leaders with the chairman of the Lossiemouth Community Council, Mike Mulholland, saying: “The community council does not condone this sort of behaviour and neither do any of the other groups campaigning for the bollards to be removed.”
Mr Mulholland added that a result of the meeting on Friday was that an expert would be brought in to consider other methods which would allow the road to remain safe for all users.
Harbour Board director George Reid said that the vandalism would be discussed with local police today and that the bollard had been put back in place. He said: “It was probably somebody a wee bit drunk – though obviously it was done intentionally as they had brought the right tools for the job.
“It has not affected anything as far as we are concerned, but when we’re in negotiations with the community council nobody wants silly things like this happening.”