'Please take your rubbish home' - National Trust bosses plea to litterbugs 'blighting landscape' at The Leas as lockdown is eased
National Trust bosses have urged people not to litter drop as the easing of lockdown restrictions sees an influx of rubbish on The Leas.
The charity which owns South Tyneside beauty spot Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, has seen a ‘substantial increase’ in the amount of litter being left on the land in recent weeks, as lockdown restrictions have been lifted to allow people to meet in groups.
Local residents, who regularly walk their dogs in the area, have also raised concerns after finding glass bottles, empty cans and discarded cartridges of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’.
On Sunday, June 21 a local surfer, Alan Taylor, collected dozens of bin bags of rubbish left behind from the night before.
Earlier this week South Tyneside council issued a warning about the dangers of ‘laughing gas’ after the empty metal canisters were spotted on The Leas, Riverside and South Shields seafront.
One resident who lives at The Nook, said: “I walk my dog on The Leas every morning, I’ve been coming here for years but I’ve never seen it this bad.
“It’s a lovely place to be spoiled and a lot of people are very upset about it.”
The National Trust has said its team at The Leas is aware of the issues and is working with local partners to manage the situation.
They have urged people to report any illegal activity to the police and to report anti-social activity via the 101 service while it is happening.
A spokesperson said: “Last week the National Trust published the news that Rangers across the country were reporting a substantial increase in people bringing barbecues and dropping litter during easing of lockdown and this is true at The Leas.
“Our outdoor teams are working incredibly hard to keep our places open, safe and clean - but we need everyone's help to keep them that way. We are emptying bins as often as we can but are currently operating with fewer staff than normal. We would urge everyone who visits our sites to take their litter home with them. Dropping litter or using already full bins puts extra pressure on our staff and local authorities at a time when resources are stretched.
“Litter not only blights the landscape but poses a threat to wildlife, which can easily become entangled or mistake it for food.”
Ben McCarthy, head of nature conservation at the national trust added: “Sadly, litter has been an issue for us for many years, but it has really ramped up lately.
“We absolutely want people to experience the beautiful natural places we look after and enjoy a picnic in the outdoors – but it’s not OK to drop rubbish and expect someone else to pick it up for you.
“Please keep hold of your litter until you find a bin, or better still, take it home with you, so we can all appreciate our natural places litter free.”