A BAND of primary school children have forced national government bureaucrats to U-turn on red squirrel warning signs.
Pupils from a school in the far north of Scotland festooned road signs with their own hand-drawn warnings after Transport Scotland contractors took down an unapproved one paid for by locals..
The youngsters took action after several rare red squirrels were killed on the roads near Ullapool, Ross Shire.
Six have been killed on the A835 since the start of December alone.
Locals initially had a whip round and paid £150 for their own “official” road sign but this was removed because it did not have permission.
Incensed youngsters at Ullapool primary decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.
Eleven hand-made signs were created and last weekend, with the help of parents, attached to a variety of existing road signs.
The children drew fat red squirrels with large tails on the signs, and coloured them in using felt pens and crayons.
One reads: “SOS – Save Our Squirrels” whilst another states: “Help!!!” and “Slow down cars.”
Red circles with cars inside and warning triangles also feature.
Local wildlife campaigner Noel Hawkins, 46, was astonished by the kids’ enthusiasm for the cause and sent pictures of the protest to Transport Scotland.
He said: “They took it upon themselves and the teacher in school let them do it. We didn’t tell them to do it. They ranged between six and eleven years old.
“There were 11 signs made. The local kids put up their own signs last weekend and we got a response back almost instantly.”
He added: “They’re going to have official signs made now – hopefully within about a month.”
Lisa McDonald, 38, mum of six year old Finlay and nine year old Nuala, who drew signs, said: “The children’s teacher took their idea on board. It really means something to them.
“They were very serious about it and knew exactly what they were doing. It wasn’t a joke to them, it was completely serious. It wasn’t the the cute, fluffy squirrel effect. They were highly engaged.”
Nine-year old Caillin Patterson’s mum, Janis, 37, said: “She’s absolutely delighted. She’s really chuffed.”
Red squirrels have been thriving in the area after a reintroduction programme.
A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “It is great pupils at Ullapool Primary are taking an interest in saving red squirrels in their area.
“We need to balance the need for such signs with road safety and that is why we are arranging for compliant signs to be put in place.
“Meanwhile, we welcome the pupils’ enthusiasm and would encourage the school to send us their great posters so we can share them on our social media channels.”