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Carpet and paint tins dumped in river at natural beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 08:02 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 18 May 2020

Waste dumped in the river at Knettishall Heath near Thetford. Photo: Eve Stoneburgh

Waste dumped in the river at Knettishall Heath near Thetford. Photo: Eve Stoneburgh

Eve Stoneburgh

Walkers at a popular beauty spot were forced to clear rubbish from a river after a fly tipper dumped waste in the water.

Waste dumped in the river at Knettishall Heath near Thetford. Photo: Eve StoneburghWaste dumped in the river at Knettishall Heath near Thetford. Photo: Eve Stoneburgh

Carpet, paint tins and polystyrene were among the things a local walker had to pull out of the river at Knettishall Heath, near Thetford.

Eve Stoneburgh, 44, from Lincoln Way in Thetford, regularly visits the nature reserve and has said in the last couple of weeks she has discovered two separate fly tips in the river running through the heath.

On Saturday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 13, Ms Stoneburgh and members of the public were forced to get into the water to pull out the rubbish, in a bid to protect wildlife.

The landscape gardener said: “It seems to be a dumping ground at the moment.

Waste dumped in the river at Knettishall Heath near Thetford. Photo: Eve StoneburghWaste dumped in the river at Knettishall Heath near Thetford. Photo: Eve Stoneburgh

“It’s not unusual to have rubbish but for it to repeatedly happen at the same spot, it just seems to be a bit of a coincidence.

“On both occasions it looks like someone has stopped on the bridge and unloaded rubbish into the water.

“There are fish, ducks and swans and the fact there were paint containers dumped on the Saturday, it’s a contaminant.”

But with lockdown and social distancing measures still in place, Ms Stoneburgh said they should not have to risk their health by cleaning up rubbish that has been dumped.

A family of swans on the river at Knettishall Heath. Members of the public has to remove waste dumped into the river. Photo: Eve Stoneburgh A family of swans on the river at Knettishall Heath. Members of the public has to remove waste dumped into the river. Photo: Eve Stoneburgh

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“Quite a few of the general public stepped into the water and pulled a lot of it out,” said Ms Stoneburgh.

“Then we took it away and loaded it into the bin. It was a real team effort last Saturday.

“But you have to be careful, there are risks involved with having to do that.

“We shouldn’t be going round picking up other people’s rubbish.”

Knettishall Heath is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) home to wild horses, species of birds and wildlife and is a spot enjoyed by nature lovers.

And Ms Stoneburgh, along with other unofficial volunteers, regularly help out and keep an eye on the site.

A spokesman from Suffolk Wildlife Trust said: “We have been shocked by the sheer disregard for the nature reserve and its visitors, particularly by the fly tipping entering the river system. Every time it has been a large clean up effort and we are hugely grateful to all our visitors who have helped with this.”


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