Warning Graphic content: Volunteers left to clean up after travellers

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Volunteers protecting a nature reserve in Stotfold have slammed travellers they say have left human excrement on the site.

A group of around seven caravan families broke through the gates at Stotfold Mill Meadows nature reserve on Sunday, according to one volunteer who had been working on the site.

The travellers left late on Monday but Dr Larry Stoter for the Teasel Volunteers, who look after the reserve, said members had been left to clear up the site.

Volunteers who spoke to the travellers had been assured they would clean up the site before they left.

“As they promised, most of the rubbish was bagged but then left for others to remove,” he said.

“What was totally inexcusable and disgusting was that these campers defecated in several places around the edges of Mill Meadow 2 without even having the decency to dig a hole and bury their faeces. It has been mostly cleared by Teasel Volunteers but if you go into Meadow 2 with children, take care.

“While I agree that gypsies and travellers do need somewhere to live and perhaps, possibly do not have sufficient places in this area, this sort of behaviour, which may well be that of a small minority, alientates them completely from the settled community.

“ It only needs a spade to dig a hole and bury your excrement.”

The volunteers were also concerned that the camp was on the site where a large number of birds, including summer migrants such as Reed Warblers and Blackcaps, are nesting in the reserve and a wild flower area is coming into bloom.

The Mill Meadows on the banks of the River Ivel, was designated Local Nature Reserve, opened in 2007 by Baroness Barbara Young, and has received numerous awards.