Police are hunting “industrial fly-tippers” who dumped 50 huge blocks of compressed recyclable rubbish at a beauty spot popular with mountain bikers and walkers.
Tens of thousands of discarded plastic bottles, bags and cardboard boxes which had been compacted into 10ft-high cubes were left strewn across the path.
Cyclists and walkers were forced to squeeze past the stinking piles of trash after they were discovered on the route between Biddulph and Brindley Ford, Staffs., on Saturday (28/1).
Staffordshire Police and council officials are now investigating in a bid to find out who dumped the rubbish.
Dog-walker David Rowe, 66, who discovered the waste, said: “I walked my dog on Friday night and there was nothing there.
“I walked the dog again on Saturday morning and saw these one cubic-metre blocks of crushed bags and bottles.
“There were about 50 cubes. The path was blocked from Brindley Ford to Biddulph. Further up the path there were large piles of shredded paper completely blocking the path.
“This will affect dog walkers, joggers and cyclists and the route is also used to get to and from schools.
“This will cost the council quite a lot of money to clear up.
“When I tried to climb over the shredded paper my feet disappeared into the mound, it was almost like quicksand because it was wet.
“This is a criminal act by whoever has done it. I am astounded.”
Cyclist Chris Spence, 45, from Stoke-on-Trent, added: “It’s clearly fly-tipping on an industrial scale.
“The plastic and cardboard has been compacted down ready for recycling so why it’s been dumped out in the open is very odd.
“My guess is it’s a back-street recycling business which charge businesses to take their rubbish but then simply dump it in the countryside.
“Whoever is responsible needs to be caught, it’s just a vile thing to do to our countryside.”
Residents have been left stunned by the mountain of waste.
Sharon Shrigley, 38, added: “The path is a mess and what has happened is disgusting.
“I’m really surprised nobody saw anything and you don’t know exactly what’s in the rubbish either, which is a bit worrying. It looks like it’s been compacted – it’s very weird.”
Police cordoned off the fly-tipped waste after being called to the area at 10.10am on Saturday.
A police spokesman said: “A large quantity of commercial waste had been dumped on the cycle path. Officers attended with colleagues from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and taped off the obstruction for safety reasons.
“The incident will be dealt with by the council’s enforcement officers.”