STALKING ALLEGATIONS HAVE been laid against wildfowlers – producing another sinister turn of events in the ongoing row around the Findhorn Nature Reserve.
Local birdwatcher and active member of the anti-wildfowling campaign group Friends of Findhorn Bay Claudia Matheson has lodged a complaint with police over an incident last week.
Ms Matheson has already held a meeting with Forres-based police inspector Grant McCutcheon over a previous incident, in which she says a wildfowler discharged his weapon in a dangerous manner.
Now a further complaint has been lodged just days after that meeting in which Ms Matheson says that she and a friend were stalked as they left the reserve on Tuesday.
She said: “We were watching birds and taking nature photos on the Findhorn Bay Reserve on Tuesday morning – there were wildfowlers present on the Southern end in hides who left around ten minutes before we did.
“At the main road to Findhorn two cars were waiting and watching us – all the occupants in the cars were wearing camouflage. We waved to the young occupants and one of the cars drove off.
“But as we cross the road near the Kinloss Church, one of the cars with four male occupants reversed and began following us into Glebe Road. I turned around to take a photograph of the car and the drive pulled up beside us and said that police had been called.
“My friend replied that was fine as the local police were happy for us all to use the bay, to which the front passenger claimed the economy would collapse without them.
“It was a brief conversation and we moved on and they crawled past us, then at the dead end of Glebe Rd. they turned around and after a brief stop drove off.”
The incident is the latest in several that are of increasing concern for those involved in both sides of the debate over activities on the reserve. Friends of Findhorn Bay have been accused by wildfowlers of organising groups to deliberately and dangerously disrupt their sport, placing themselves between the shoreline and wildfowlers.
Earlier this year Moray Council accepted petitions from both groups and attempted to find a compromise. However, while local wildfowlers and the Friends of Findhorn Bay had reached an agreement, that was thrown out just before the shooting season resumed following an intervention by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.