A SCOT has been left “horrified” after finding popular cakes stuffed with pills outside her house.
One of Scotland’s favourite treats – Snowballs – were found laced with a potentially fatal blood-thinning medicine outside Robin Maclean’s home in Inverness.
It is thought the snacks were being used as bait to poison gulls – and one friendly bird has already been found dead in her garden.
The 69-year-old, who lives in Merkinch, said the cakes could easily have been picked up by a child.
Police said that initial analysis of the pills suggested they contained warfarin – medication used to prevent blood from clotting which can be extremely harmful if consumed by anyone who has not been prescribed it.
Mrs Maclean, a school crossing patroller, said it was “too much of a coincidence” that a gull, which she regularly fed and named Seacelia, had died in her garden.
The three cakes had been set in a row on grass at the front of her home, but when she brought them inside to throw them in the bin, she noticed that all three had been punctured.
She said: “I also noticed that there were blue marks around the top of them and I thought it was a bit strange.
“I took them into the kitchen and opened one of them up and it was full of these little blue pills.
“I had no idea what they were, but I knew I didn’t want them in my kitchen. I was horrified.”
She added: “These cakes hadn’t been dropped. Somebody put them there on purpose.
“I was so worried that kids could easily have picked them up. I’ve worked with kids all my life and know that they would just pick up things like that without thinking anything of it.”
She believes that the cakes were bait placed to try to poison gulls which flock to her neighbourhood.
Seacelia had been a regular visitor to her garden for a number of years, and Mrs Maclean said that the bird was “almost tame”.
Councillor Donnie Kerr, who lives in the Merkinch area, said: “It’s quite a worrying incident. It’s potentially very dangerous for children and pets and it was a very irresponsible thing to do.
“I hope that this is a one off incident and the police are investigating it thoroughly.”
Warfarin, the medication thought to have been used in the baited cakes, is the most commonly used blood thinner in the UK.
It is also widely used as a pesticide and was initially introduced for killing rats and mice before being adapted for medical use.
It works as an anticoagulant which stops blood from clotting.
However, if it is taken when not prescribed, it can cause high fever, inflammation of the pancreas and kidney problems.
It can also lead to uncontrollable bleeding from wounds, and creates an increased risk of internal bleeding, heavy bruising and can even lead to hair loss.
A police spokeswoman said: “Following initial analysis the substance is thought to be warfarin medication, which can be extremely harmful if consumed by anyone to whom it has not been prescribed.”
Police have urged anyone with information to contact them on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.