A LITTER bin dumped in the River Cree at one of its most picturesque points will not be removed because of health and safety fears, it was confirmed this week.
It was the latest episode in the sad saga of Newton Stewart, epitome of The Pogues’ Dirty Old Town.
The bin was ripped from its base and thrown into the river last year in an act of vandalism at the site and has been visible ever since from the Riverside Walk - one of Newton Stewart’s most popular recreation spots for residents and tourists.
Now one local, who has seen first-hand the littering, anti-social behaviour and harrassment of walkers by the groups of low-lifes vandalising the area, is calling for action to be taken against the culprits.
The man - who asked for his name to be witheld to avoid becoming yet another target of abuse by the perpetrators - told The Gazette that now the bin has gone, the littering of that section of the walk is increasingly worrying.
And having spoken to many people along the walk in recent weeks, the general feeling is that adults are responsible for the mess.
The resident claimed the problem lies with addicts and drunks who use the riverside site behind Jewson’s timber yard at all times of the day.
He said: “I have been myself, and have seen others, accosted and verbally abused. I spoke to two visitors who called this a ‘dirty wee town’ and said they’d never be back. I have also spoken to dog walkers who have are avoiding the area because of the harrassment they receive from these grown-up yobs.”
Another dog walker who spoke to The Gazette has spent over £50 having his dog’s paws seen to by the vet after glass cut into them.
Our resident said: “I would regularly pick up the litter I saw along there but there is nowhere to put it because the bin is still in the river. If other responsible walkers want to collect the litter of others, there’s nowhere nearby they can put it.”
A further fear was raised relating to fire-raising, as the man has spotted scorched areas of grass beside the piles of bottles and cans at the ‘party site’, and the threat to wildlife has been noted - in particular, to nesting ducks on the Minnigaff side of the river. The resident has found scores of glass bottles on both sides of the river and said he dreads to consider how they made their way across the water.
He added: “I do see the council there picking up the litter every so often and I’m encouraged by what the police have told me, but I do feel patrols need to be stepped up.”
A council spokesman said: “The litter bin can’t be recovered from the River Cree by manual means as the bank is too steep. The litter bin has been replaced on several occasions with the same result: it ends up in the Cree. After the third time this occurred, it was decided not to replace the bin again.
“These bins cost around £250 each and there are other bins in the area, especially in Riverside car park. The path is regularly litterpicked by the council.”
According to the police: “We note the concerns raised. We appreciate the information provided and would like to reassure those concerned that officers will endeavour to patrol the area more regularly. We would like to encourage others to report matters as they occur in order offences can be detected/prevented.
“For those who are congregating in the area, please be responsible in your attitude towards others by not drinking alcohol in a public place, disposing of litter responsibly and encouraging others to do the same. This area widely used by the community and visitors to the area as a popular walkway.
“This area is covered by the local bye-law which prohibits the consumption of alcohol.”
And further upstream, it seems the revelling continues as this week’s satyrical “open letter to all partygoers” highlights: “Hey guys that was some party on Friday night at the suspension bridge!!! We showed the oldies how to have a good time eh? Blimey we got through some booze and fags, need to beg some more cash off ma Ma and Da now.
I knew we shoulda got BIG JIMMY to come too as we didn’t quite manage to wreck the table eh!!! But we are nearly there with the bench now...”