Health chiefs and community leaders have condemned culprits who forced the cancellation of a mobile Angus Covid-19 test site two weeks’ in a row.
Cones cordoning off the area of Brechin’s Maisondieu West car park for the weekly Wednesday sessions were moved.
It left testing teams without sufficient space to run the drop-ins for asymptomatic residents seeking a coronavirus test.
They had no option but to call off the drop-in because of what a local councillor has branded “selfish” actions.
Angus Council said it will be taking steps to ensure the situation doesn’t crop up again.
Brechin and Edzell representative Gavin Nicol said: “I don’t know what would go through the mind of someone to disrupt a valuable service like this as we try to emerge safely from the pandemic.
“This is a really important service for our burghs.
“It encourages people without symptoms to get tested and will hopefully help us keep our local rates down.
“These test centres have been a great asset to many folk and there are enough around for people to know why parts of our car parks are coned off.
“It might have been kids just moving the cones around, but they have to realise the problem they’ve caused and take responsibility.
“But it could also have been someone who felt they were entitled to a space and didn’t care at all about the consequences for others.
“That would be a pretty selfish thing to do.
“To cause further upset to someone living in the same town who has concerns about their own health and that of others is just not on.”
The community testing initiative is run by NHS Tayside in partnership with the Scottish Government, NHS Tayside, Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross Councils, Scottish Ambulance Service and the British Red Cross.
It aims to drive down local Covid-19 rates and transmission by identifying positive cases more quickly.
People can simply drop in, but are also able to book a test by phoning 119 to speed up the process.
The Angus sessions run in Arbroath, Monifieth, Forfar, Brechin, Kirriemuir, Montrose and Carnoustie on different days each week.
Dr Emma Fletcher, NHS Tayside director of public health said, “We are seeing a rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 in Tayside so it is more important than ever that the mobile testing vans are able to operate in our communities.
“It is very disappointing that what I’m sure is a very small number of people in Brechin are preventing the testing team from providing this important service to the town.
“Getting tested regularly for Covid-19 even if you don’t have symptoms is one of the ways to keep our communities safe as restrictions ease – even if you have been vaccinated.
“Regular testing helps us to find positive cases in people who have no symptoms, but who are still infectious.
“If people who test positive and their contacts self-isolate, we can break the chain of transmission and limit the spread of Covid-19.
“I would encourage everyone to make regular use of the testing services on offer.”
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “Asymptomatic testing is a key part of the national strategy to keep this virus under control, allowing families and friends to meet, and local businesses to remain trading.
“The council will continue to support the Scottish Ambulance Service and the NHS to deliver this programme in Brechin and will be taking action to ensure that this valuable facility remains available for the vast majority of responsible Brechin citizens.”