Litter left for others to clear
A Wetherby councillor has spoken about her disappointment with the amount of litter left in the area following large gatherings of people last weekend.
Like many places nationally, Wetherby and the surrounding villages were visited by crowds of people at the weekend, as some pandemic restrictions were eased and temperatures soared.
But sites in Boston Spa and Wetherby were left strewn with litter which then had to be cleared by members of the local community.
Coun Norma Harrington (Conservative, Wetherby Ward), said: “Councillor Linda Richards and I have worked with environmental services at the Council to clear the rubbish that public minded local residents helped collect, after the awful mess that was left by crowds at the weekend.”
Lockdown restrictions were lessened from Monday but residents reported on social media that large groups were gathering and were not sticking to the two-metre rule.
One incident was at Boston Spa where some people described a mass gathering of young people on the riverside, looking like a proms.
The Government announced that from Monday in England, people can meet in groups of up to six people from different households outside - either in parks or private gardens - as long as they remain 2m (6ft) apart.
Coun Harrington added: “These gatherings happened even before the restrictions were loosened.
“We don’t condone behaviour which goes against social distancing regulations, and it’s important that people continue to follow the rules, even as some of those rules start to be eased.
“We want people to exercise common sense and take their own responsibilities seriously in this transition phase of the lockdown.
“In doing so, people should maintain social distancing and leave an outside area clean and tidy as they would wish to find it.
“It is not fair to ask people to pick up others’ litter. This latest incident demonstrated disrespect for the land and our communities.”
Residents in Boston Spa said they had reported incidents to the police and West Yorkshire Police told the Wetherby News that officers were patrolling the areas.
Inspector Richard Horn, who heads the Leeds North East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are very much aware that the hot weather has seen increases in the number of people visiting the riverside areas of Wetherby and Boston Spa, and my officers have been patrolling those areas.
“We will be continuing to pay attention to those areas to engage with people and take positive action where necessary to address any anti-social behaviour that impacts on others.”
A further warning went out from Leeds North East Neighbourhood Police after empty laughing gas canisters were found in the area.
They stated that inhaling Nitrous Oxide was risky and selling it could result in a seven-year prison sentence.
“It is becoming more and more popular among certain people to take Laughing Gas and enjoy the feeling of euphoria and dizziness it produces,” warned a police spokesman.
“This may seem harmless but there are many risks to your health in doing this.
“These include loss of consciousness, possible suffocation.”
They added: “We are also finding it more and more common that there is an impact on your local communities when people use it. This can be a rise in anti-social behaviour or littering.”