A COUNCILLOR has blasted residents for littering their pumpkin skins across the woodlands in Leigh.

Stephen Aylen said the pumpkin skins have been littered all over Belfairs Park after people threw them away following Halloween last week.

He said it has created a “huge mess” in the woodlands and has urged people not to dump the skins of the pumpkins, saying it is “a massive eyesore”.

Mr Aylen said: “I think many people have been thinking that if they chuck out their empty pumpkin shells and skins it’s not a problem, as they can be eaten by animals.

“But what’s actually the case is that animals can eat the insides of the pumpkin, but the shell and skin can’t be eaten.

“And this now means that the park has loads of pumpkin shells thrown all over the place.

“I was down there the other day and came across people doing it. I challenged them, but they said they had read about it online and it was the best thing to do to stop them going to waste.”

In the run up to Halloween, the environmental waste charity Hubbub reported that the UK could throw away nearly eight million pumpkins this year, with only a third of all buyers keeping the leftover edible innards to cook.

It also reported 51 per cent of buyers would just bin the edibles after carving the pumpkin.

Mr Aylen added: “This is proving a big problem, it’s just creating a massive mess in the park and the skins will not get eaten.

“People should be aware that they can throw as much of the innards as possible as animals will eat it, but the skins and shell will just be left to rot.

“This needs to be addressed more by the suppliers, we have to stop wasting so much of these pumpkins every year.”

Ian Brown, Parks Management Officer for Southend Council, confirmed that the council would be cleaning away the discarded fruit where they could find it in the park, and that the council would be posting on social media telling people not to throw any more away.