CORNWALL'S countryside is being treated as an illegal dumping ground – and the problem is escalating.
This picture, taken by outraged Trewoon resident Lesley Morcom, is among a string of despicable views of their countryside residents have had to face over two years.
Rural beauty spots and even a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) near Trewoon have become a playground for fly-tipping.
Fridges, mattresses, building material, old televisions, gas cylinders and even asbestos are among a long list of items being dumped across rural locations.
In January alone Imerys suffered 11 incidents of fly-tipping on its land.
At another spot, brazen offenders left paperwork with details of an address in St Blazey bagged up and dumped.
The worst eyesores are on the SSSI area St Mewan Beacon and near Blackpool clay pits.
Miss Morcom, 46, of Carne Hill, said that as soon as the disgraceful mess is removed the perpetrators return – normally under the cloak of darkness.
She and her 76-year-old father became so desperate to beat the fly-tippers that on one occasion they removed the rubbish from the undergrowth themselves.
As the problems have worsened, Miss Morcom has gone from repeatedly alerting Cornwall Council and landowners Imerys to becoming a watchman against the fly-tippers.
She said: "People should be ashamed. Why are some people so lazy and disgusting, I don't think they would like it on their doorstep, so why do it to other people?
"I was brought up in the country and I have country ways and it hurts to feel people are just destroying it like this."
Miss Morcom is calling for more prosecutions and hefty fines for fly-tippers.
She feels St Austell will never fulfil its aspirations of becoming the green capital of Cornwall while it is plagued by the offenders.
Other residents and parish councillors are also aghast at the rising tide of illegal dumping and are keeping a watchful eye over the countryside.
St Mewan parish councillor Elaine Hamley, who lives on Trevanion Road, Trewoon, said fly-tipping showed a "total disregard for other people".
She added: "It's a health and safety issue as well as spoiling the countryside."
Larry Budge, St Mewan parish clerk, said: "It's a great pity that they can't be bothered to take it to the tip that's open and available."
Imerys continues to see an increase in a wide range of waste being dumped on its land, said facilities and security manager Yvonne Lister.
She said that fly-tippers' actions affect everybody and if spotted they should be reported to the police.
St Austell and Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert branded fly-tipping as "vandalism of public spaces through laziness".
A Cornwall Council spokesman said: "While it can often be difficult to identify perpetrators, we will prosecute when we have evidence – the penalties are heavy and can include imprisonment."
We are appealing for readers of the Cornish Guardian to name and shame the grot spots in your town or village. Call our newsdesk about fly-tippers on 01726 76815, e-mail reports and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook St Austell Cornish Guardian.
Cornwall Council has to deal with more than 1,000 environmental crimes every year according to new figures. See page 5.