HEFTY fines will be dished out to “irresponsible” litterers who leave their rubbish behind, after councillors spent hours clearing up dumped waste from a park.

Packets, cups, cans and bottles have been left strewn across the grass at Lake Meadows in Billericay, as the lift in lockdown restrictions saw people begin to venture out their homes for a picnic in the sun.

Outraged at the state visitors have left the park, Councillor Andrew Schrader has called for action, and yesterday received confirmation that enforcement officers will now be keeping a close eye on groups at the park, issuing £100 on the spot fines to those who dump their waste.

Andrew, who represents the Billericay East ward, said: “This is a problem which has mostly hit Lake Meadows, but from talking to other colleagues and residents across the borough, it seems like this is a growing problem.

“I’m absolutely appalled by the way some people are treating our beautiful park. It’s outrageous that some people think it’s acceptable to come and have a picnic and just get up and leave their waste strewn about the place for somebody else to clean up.

“I have asked the council to increase the amount they empty the bins and have received an email to confirm that from today there will be enforcement officers out at Lake Meadows.

“Although they will obviously go down the education and warning route first, littering is a £100 on the spot fine - they have my full support to do this if necessary. There’s absolutely no excuse.”

Billericay Town Council Councillor Mark Thomas has spent an hour and a half attempting to clear the park’s litter during his early morning dog walks. He added: “I’ve never seen it this bad, it’s very irresponsible. One day I picked up 350 gas cannisters from the cricket field and not long ago I picked up five bags of rubbish before I’d even got round a quarter of my dog walk. It’s beyond a joke.

“The bins also make it hard to fit bags through the slot so even if it’s left next to them, wildlife tear the bags apart spilling out rubbish. Please take it home if there’s no room.”

Basildon Council were contacted for comment.