Fears have been raised a child could lose their life following the collapse of part of the coastal defence system in Angus.
Calls have been made for urgent repairs to be carried out after a section of wall at Montrose beach gave way, sparking concerns for the safety of local children.
A chunk of rock armour, installed to protect the vulnerable coast from the relentless pounding by the North Sea, “caved in” leaving a gaping hole which residents believe could attract curious youngsters.
The breach, between the beach and the dunes, was highlighted by Montrose resident Jackie Gouck.
It prompted local councillor Bill Duff to warn children to stay away until repair work has been carried out.
The SNP member for Montrose and District said: “Obviously I am concerned about this.
“I knew there was a problem with the general rock defences that was flagged up a year or 18 months ago.
“The rock armour is potentially dangerous to climb down; if a child was to fall at high tide they could fall into the water.”
Mr Duff visited the area on Monday afternoon to inspect the damage.
He said: “Repairs to Montrose beach sea defences have been identified by council engineers some time ago but not yet carried out.
“This work was excluded from the administration budget in February.
“The area identified looks like a piece of tar that was filling a hole and has now crumbled. There is a concern children playing there could get into difficulty.
“I’d encourage children not to play in that area as the rock armour is hazardous to climb over and tripping is a serious hazard.”
Ms Gouck, who reported the damage at the weekend, said: “(I) had a walk along the beach and could not believe my eyes, the stone had caved in.
“It is very dangerous. Kids will more than likely have a closer look and I really don’t want to hear of any accident, or worse, happening there.”
Another resident called for the repairs to be carried out “as soon as possible” before a child is hurt “big time”.
Angus Council engineers attended the area on Monday to assess the damage.
An Angus Council spokesman said: “Works to repair the hole have been ordered and will begin shortly.
“The damage has been cordoned off meantime. This restoration of the coastal defence will involve the void being filled and the revetment resealed.”
The perilous state of Montrose beach was in the spotlight last April as part of a BBC Landward investigation into vanishing coasts.
Presenter Dougie Vipond visited the area as part of a ‘Disappearing Scotland’ investigation into coastal erosion, with Angus identified as one of Scotland’s most vulnerable areas.