Highways bosses are pleading with motorists to stop littering after mounds of rubbish were removed from a major A road in Essex.

Around 60 tonnes of litter and fly-tipping were picked up from just three laybys on the northbound carriageway of the A12 near Brentwood.

Highways England says it took litter pickers 11 days to clear the rubbish, which was put into 328 bags.

Among the items found dumped in the laybys were a timber shed, fence panels and posts, concrete slabs, tyres and pieces of metal.

Experts say the sheer weight of the haul collected was the equivalent of ten fully grown elephants. 

In addition to the clear-out, extra bins and fences were also installed at the laybys in a bid to avoid similar incident from occurring again.

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Highways England say litter can present a “serious safety risk”, causing a hazard to drivers and the workers who clear it from the road.

Around 10,000 bags of litter are collected from the roadside in the East of England every year.

Route manager Nigel Allsopp said: “Millions of people travel on our network every day and despite our best efforts to keep roads clean, they can quickly become littered with rubbish from vehicles and fly-tippers.

“The simple fact is that if litter wasn’t dropped in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up.

“We must all take responsibility because littering and fly-tipping can have devastating consequences on us all and the environment.”

Highways England added the cost of collecting one bag of litter is the same as fixing a pothole.