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Litter louts leave nature reserve strewn with beer cans, soiled nappies and lilos

Leicestershire Live logo Leicestershire Live 19/06/2022 Asha Patel

A city nature reserve described as an "urban gem" was left trashed after the hottest day of the year. Beer cans, soiled nappies and discarded lidos were scattered across Aylestone Meadows when locals visited on Saturday morning.

Sadly littered parks during the warmer months are not an uncommon sight. But this time, one local said the state the green space was left was 'an absolute disgrace -and it seems to be getting worse'.

Mark Andrews, a wildlife artist and tour leader, who lives nearby to Aylestone Meadows said: "It's one of those places that we're so lucky to have in the city - it's an urban jewel and it's been treated with complete and utter disregard."

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Leicester basked in temperatures of up to 31C on Friday as people flocked to green spaces to make the most of the weather. Aylestone Meadows, which sits in the heart of the city, is particularly popular due to its location.

The Leicester City Council-managed space is regularly maintained, Andrews added, but the sheer amount of rubbish dumped at the beauty spot on Friday "would require vehicles to come and sort it out". "I imagine this has happened across Leicestershire," he added.

Aylestone Meadows was trashed after what was the hottest day of the year on Friday, June 17. Regular users were appalled by the 'disregard' of visitors. © Mark Andrews Aylestone Meadows was trashed after what was the hottest day of the year on Friday, June 17. Regular users were appalled by the 'disregard' of visitors.

Images of the riverside plain, taken on Saturday morning show beer glasses left half full, disposable plates, and other plastic waste dumped in and around the waterway. Evidence of disposable barbeques and what appears to be the remnants of an open fire were also spotted, despite clear 'NO BBQ' signs.

"The work that would be needed to sort out this mess costs money that would come straight from the pockets of the people who created it - it's just baffling," the 50-year-old added.

Mr Andrews took to Twitter to share the images alongside his disappointment. He wrote: "Spending time in nature is good for your mental well-being, but some mornings, mine just plummets. The patch today, a wonderful biodiversity-rich, urban nature reserve trashed."

The images show only © Mark Andrews The images show only

Councillor Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transport, responded to the post, saying that in his opinion, it "should be treated as a wildlife crime". In a further response, he said: "I've asked for a meeting with Parks and Police".

Andrews told LeicestershireLive that he would like to see a campaign to tackle the issue, which he said was not isolated to Saturday, and believed on-the-spot fines should be imposed on those who litter.

"There needs to be a general public awareness that this is not acceptable. The people that leave it to know that someone else will clean it up but they should not have to." While regular users often collect rubbish from the site when they see it, Andrews said the scale of mess on Saturday was just "too overwhelming".

"We're in the middle of a climate crisis and an environmental crisis and it jus seems like people have given up," he said.

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