Police are targeting gangs of teenage arsonists who have started fires in the grounds of a Barrhead golf club.

The unruly youths, including some believed to be as young as 14, have been gathering at Fereneze Golf Club at weekends to drink booze and play music.

However, some have also been setting fire to bushes and other foliage.

In one recent incident, a wooden bench on one of the fairways was badly damaged after it was set ablaze.

Bert Holt, club captain, told the Barrhead News: “It’s very concerning for the members, as large groups are breaking Covid regulations.

“Our greenkeeping staff are facing health and safety risks, as they have to clear up the debris, as well as bottles and cans.

“This is causing them and their families concern, as we don’t know if the people who have discarded this stuff have contracted the virus, which could then be passed on to our staff.”

Police are concerned that parents are dropping off their children at the course, not realising they are then going on to cause trouble.

Inspector Michelle Grant said: “This area has been experiencing general anti-social behaviour in the last weeks. We are particularly concerned by the incidents of fireraising which are taking place.

“Our specialist motorcycle teams who were in the area were intercepting some parents dropping off their children to meet up with friends. I would urge them not to do that unless they are members or playing golf as per the current government guidelines.”

Inspector Grant said officers are working with colleagues at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to tackle the vandalism.

Area Commander Jim McNeil, SFRS Local Senior Officer, added: “Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties.

“I would ask parents to make sure children are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire-setting.”