Clean-up teams have found picturesque woodland on the outskirts of Sleaford is being used as a drug den.
The evidence was revealed by the Woodland Trust, which manages Sleaford Wood on the northern edge of town, as it drew attention to ongoing clean up costs of littering, flytipping and damage to its sites.
The Woodland Trust’s annual bill for clearing up the mess in Sleaford Wood was recorded as £575 for 2017 and spokesman for the charity Andy Bond said the site manager has discovered numerous syringes and evidence of drug taking in the last year.
He said: “You find more of that sort of thing in woods near cities - more commonly we find general littering and the odd flytip. Hazardous waste is fairly common too.”
Thought to have existed since the mid-18th century, Sleaford Wood is enjoyed by the community including dog walkers and children. The trust manages a number of local woods and has to deal with everything from litter and wooden pallets to dumping hazardous waste, including empty tubs of alloy wheel cleaner.
The charity’s general bill for clearing up waste across its woods hit new levels of almost £200,000, up by more than £70,000 over the past five years. In 2017, across its UK woods, the charity spent £56,523 clearing fly-tipping alone, up by more than £13,000 from 2016.
Darren Moorcroft, director of Estate and Woodland Outreach, described the figures as “worrying”.
He said: “In a world where we need our efforts and money to focus on the growing threats to our woods such as disease, pests and development, it is a shame we have to deal with the actions of mindless individuals.”
He warned they will prosecute, which can lead to substantial fines. People should report dumping to Crimestoppers on: 0800555111.”