COUNCIL staff and volunteers have been targeted for verbal abuse by people who continue to use the Duchess Wood despite its closure on safety grounds, it has been revealed.

Argyll and Bute Council technical officer Ailsa Cunningham made the shocking admission at a meeting of the wood’s local nature reserve committee on Tuesday.

And Stewart Campbell, of the Friends of Duchess Wood, said that the organisation’s volunteers have also been targeted by irate members of the public.

READ MORE: 'No evidence' to support Duchess Wood closure, new report states

Ms Cunningham said: “We have repeatedly replaced notices to say the wood is closed. Our staff are abused when they are there under a duty to protect the public.

“If people want to take the risk, ignore the warnings and use the wood, that is up to them.

"We have repeatedly said it is closed, and the community is aware.”

READ MORE: Duchess Wood 'could stay shut for another six months', claims Friends group

Mr Campbell responded: “I am very sorry that council employees have had stick from people walking into the wood.

"But so have we – as people think it was us who enforced the closure.

“It is completely crazy that the council has taken this risk-averse position.

"It should not have acted on the basis of a consultant’s report.”

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