POLICE in Largs have moved to reassure members of the public over the unusual sight of shoes hanging from electricity wires.

A Largs resident contacted the News to raise her concerns after being told by friends that the phenomenon can indicate locations where drugs can be bought.

But local police sergeant Donald Fisher says he doesn't believe that the sight locally has any links to drug dealing or any other form of criminality.

The phenomenon has been reported in towns and cities around the world, with some describing it as "modern art".

It's even earned its own nickname - "Shoefiti".

The reader who contacted the News said: "Sometimes these parks are frequented by many young people and they seem to have a great time expending energy and meeting up with mates.

"We had friends up from the south of England and they asked me, out of the blue, if we had a drug problem.

"I was quite taken aback and asked why they were asking this question. Apparently in England if young people hang trainers from a wire it means that this is a place where you can buy drugs.

"I have asked around and that seems to be the case.

"There are numerous trainers hanging from the wire in some parks in North Ayrshire.

"I am not suggesting for a minute that drugs are sold, but I think parents should know that English visitors may think so. 

"Near my local park, I have seen two young girls, aged about 12, bring their old trainers to throw over the wire.

"This seems to be a fun thing to do here, but there may be repercussions during the holiday season."

There's no shortage of possible explanations to be found on the internet for the phenomenon; drug supply is one, as is gang territory, while other mooted reasons include celebrating a milestone, such as leaving school, losing a bet, and simply "kids being kids".

Sergeant Fisher said: "When you go looking around at the history of it, there doesn't seem to be one sole reason. The web is laced with various suggestions of the meaning behind them. 

"Those suggestions ranging from, as put forward in the email, signifying drug supply locations, gang territory marking etc all the way through to being memorials of those passed and the result of kids playing high jinks.

"I personally think in the local area it falls into the latter, less sinister bounds. 

"I remember when the first shoes were hanging from the wire and I spoke with some of the group of youths involved. The collective opinion was that they got there because of fooling around. It did not appear to directly signify a drugs supply location.  

"We do recognise that we are coming into the busier summer months and it is something that we can keep an eye on in our patrols around the district."

Any information about drug dealing in the area, or any other form of criminal behaviour, can be passed to Police Scotland by calling 101 or using the Contact Us section of the Police Scotland website.

In an emergency, always dial 999.