LITTER louts are turning a beauty spot near Stafford into an eyesore, angry local residents claim.
The area around the Essex Bridge, Great Haywood is a favourite spot with boaters and picnickers.
But recent sunshine left a nasty aftermath in the form of piles of litter at the site - ranging from discarded instant barbecues to dirty nappies.
Nearby resident Sue Cooper has become so concerned about recurring litter problems that she has started going out in the mornings to tidy up the area herself.
"This matter reached a crisis when I arrived to find the single bin at the gateway to the canal full to overflowing with items placed around it," said Mrs Cooper, aged 66, a Haywoods' resident for 47 years.
"On the riverbank were three used barbecues, three used nappies, clothing, too many bottles to count, as well as cans and packaging.
"It is disgusting. I can't understand the mentality of parents who would change a baby's nappy and just leave it lying there.
"There were also carrier bags which I filled and placed in the bin in the village square . Another bin opposite the Essex bridge was full."
Mrs Cooper said she was concerned about the potential health hazard as well as the impact on the appearance of the area.
"This is an increasingly popular attraction for local people as well as canal users and visitors to the Shugborough estate who often walk through the estate to the village," Mrs Cooper said.
"It has become such an eyesore and a matter of concern that for two years I have picked up the litter every morning at 6am and placed it in bins in the area.
Mrs Cooper said she wanted to see a larger bin provided and emptied regularly, plus somewhere for boaters to leave their rubbish.
But she said the main culprits seemed to be visiting families who did not take their rubbish away with them.
"What is the point of planting nice flower beds around the village when there's an eyesore at the village's most beautiful and well known beauty spot?" she asked.
Parish and borough councillor Jean Tabernor said she would investigate the problem, and urged residents to contact Stafford Borough Council's Streetscene team when they came across litter hot spots.
"I will be looking into this to see what can be done - whether bigger bins, or putting up signs reminding people to take their rubbish home," she said. "Unfortunately things don't happen overnight."
A borough council spokesman said: "We will be speaking to the canal and river trust who own the land by the canal that runs through Great Haywood, regarding extra bins and waste facilities in the area, and the parish council to see what can be done to improve this situation"
He added that staff were monitoring the situation over the bank holiday weekend.