RUBBISH strewn across the Stray last weekend has been branded a “disgrace” by furious residents.
Smashed glass and plastic bottles, used barbecues and rotten food was left dumped across the Stray after a weekend of warm weather.
Hundreds of people had taken advantage of the sunshine to enjoy picnics on the grass, but the actions of a few who left behind their litter has incensed residents - many of whom made their outrage clear on Twitter.
“I think they should be fined,” wrote Andrew Fishburn. “It’s really not good that people disrespect such a lovely piece of land.”
Rachael Hunter said she thought it looked awful.
“It’s such a shame people can’t be bothered to use a bin,” she said.
Chris Hornby suggested bringing in more bins or putting up posters at the train station and in car parks - or the use of a “gentle water cannon”.
Staff at Harrogate council cleared 60 bags of rubbish on Monday - four times the usual amount.
Patrick Kilburn, head of parks and open spaces, said he was “very disappointed”.
“My staff said this weekend was the worst they have ever seen,” he said. “They were particularly concerned at the amount of broken glass, which is dangerous for other users and particularly children and pets.”
One person is employed for an hour every Monday morning to clear the Stray bins in the spring months.
This Monday, it took three people 10 hours to collect all the rubbish.
“We, as a council, already do a lot to keep our streets, parks and open spaces clean,” said Mr Kilburn.
“If people do continue to leave litter and we do have to increase the frequency of litter picking even more, then that is going to divert resources from other areas.
“There’s only so many staff I can deploy from my team to provide this litter picking service.”
There are 38 bins on the Stray and a further 30 on the periphery. The council said placing more bins wouldn’t solve the problem, and that residents needed to take responsibility for their rubbish.
“We want people to have fun and enjoy this unique Stray facility which we are very proud of,” said Mr Kilburn. “We would urge them to think about other users whose enjoyment shouldn’t be spoilt by litter louts and nor should the local authority have to use more of council tax payers’ money to pick up after them.”