Drinkers trash Strangford Lough wildlife reserves
Wildlife refuges around Strangford Lough are being ruined by drinking parties, it has been claimed.
Independent councillor Cadogan Enright said revellers vandalised amenities and left litter at beauty spots.
After visiting four islands strewn with debris, Mr Enright warned that he would pursue prosecutions.
He also blamed drinking parties for vandalising a bothy on Salt Island by lighting fires on sewerage drains and ruining the water storage system by packing it with beer cans.
Councillor Enright said the attraction was once popular with locals and holidaymakers.
But because of ongoing vandalism, it has been officially closed for more than two years.
Mr Enright visited the four islands as part of an annual butterfly count project that he carries out with his 10-year-old son, Cad Og.
He found litter strewn over Dyn Ui Neil, Salt Island, Inis tSagairt and Green Island ,which is an important habitat for rare breeding terns.
A spokesman for the National Trust condemned the vandalism and thanked Mr Enright for volunteering his help.
"Strangford Lough is a hugely important place for wildlife and nature and we know that there is increasing pressure on such places," he added.
"More than 2,000 species of marine wildlife are found in or around the lough, of which 28 are not recorded anywhere else in Northern Ireland.
"As a conservation charity, we have limited resources, so we really rely on the support of our volunteers like Cadogan, who do an amazing job."