Rubbish was left strewn across Congleton beauty spots on Wednesday morning after people gathered in groups to make the most of the warm spell of weather following the easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday.
Police issued covid fines at Astbury Mere Country Park on Tuesday while Astbury Mere Trust issued an apology to visitors for the state of the park and appealed for people to help clean up the rubbish, which included beer cans, cardboard boxes to hold beer and plastic bags.
Rubbish had also been left at Dane-in-Shaw pastures where groups had been seen gathering on Tuesday.
Since Monday, groups of six have been able to meet outdoors, which coincided with this week’s warm spell of weather.
Speaking yesterday, a Chronicle reader said: “I walked at Astbury Mere this morning and it is clear there have been large crowds last night. The litter is still there and it’s boxes and boxes of beer bottles etc. So many walkers this morning are very upset.”
A statement posted by Astbury Mere Country Park yesterday morning said: “Yesterday evening there were an extremely large number of visitors to Astbury Mere Country Park. Unfortunately they were there to party and chose to leave a very large amount of litter over the park.
“Today is our caretaker’s day off, so his normal early morning litter pick has not happened and the park is not in the condition we would expect it to be.
“Astbury Mere Trust would like to apologise to any visitors for the state of the park and would ask if you are visiting the park today, please could you take a bag and pick up some of the litter.
“The bins are full. If possible, please could you either take it home or leave it close to the compound in the car park. Thank you for your help.”
Congleton town councillor Robert Hemsley, a Lib Dem representative for West Ward, said: “It’s not very much different to what we had last year. We did a litter pick at the country park and it was pretty grotty.
“It just seems to be one of those things. We’ve locked everyone up for so long and this week is the first bit of sun we’ve had.”
He added: “I can’t condone it but what would we have done if we were 18? I would like to think I would not have dropped litter when I was a teenager but it is hard for them. They’ve been locked up for at least since last autumn.
“I feel terribly sorry for the younger people. They do not help themselves but they are young.”The rubbish was equally as bad last year, it was awful. We were picking up sanitary towels and nappies.”
A tweet from Congleton West Police yesterday said: “Officers issued covid fines at Astbury Mere yesterday to a group breaching the rules. We still all have a part to play in sticking to the rules in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. Please continue to follow the guidance and protect yourself from the virus.”