Harbour chiefs in Aberdeen have issued a stark safety warning over the dangers of trespassing.
Bosses at Aberdeen Harbour Board say there have been 19 incidents of members of the public gaining unauthorised access to its property so far this year.
People have accessed areas such as harbour infrastructure and the breakwaters, leading to fears over safety.
Some have even turned up with ladders on their vehicles to climb over the fence.
The harbour’s operations manager John McGuigan said there was a risk people could injure themselves on equipment or rocks, or get in the way of the large ships which use the port.
He said: “Our colleagues and security personnel attend every event as it occurs, and when we ask people why they were out on a breakwater or other secured harbour infrastructure, it turns out they were just taking photographs, or wanted to go fishing, or were just having a laugh and fancied a swim.
“People are putting themselves at serious risk by deliberately obtaining unauthorised access.
“Swimming from the shoreside in the shipping channel or jumping off the harbour’s breakwaters is extremely dangerous and there is a real risk of being swept out by currents or into the paths of large ships, which would not be able to stop.
“There is also a high chance of being injured on rocks beneath the surface.”
Efforts are under way to deter people from trespassing, with new security measures recently installed at the harbour.
And bosses are also engaging with the emergency services in a bid to discourage would-be trespassers from doing so.
Mr McGuigan added: “We are one of the busiest ports in the country so there are many hazards to untrained members of the public.
“We’ve recently invested more than £300,000 in additional security measures to prevent further cases of unauthorised entry.
“We have also replaced more than 500 lights with brighter and more efficient LEDs to combat the darker nights and worsening weather but we must urge the public to stay out and keep off the breakwaters.
“It is astonishing that members of the public do come equipped with ladders on car roofs, ropes and even use pallets and beach debris to scale over the harbour’s perimeter security fencing.
“Every time we have a trespass incident, it puts a lot of pressure on our teams and, sometimes, the emergency services.
“When any of us respond, we are put at additional risk as we can’t social distance because our priority is always the safety and well being of those on the site.”