An ‘appalled’ dog walker has hit out at school leavers he claims are turning a South Tyneside nature reserve into an annual drink and litter hotspot.
The man, who does not wish to be named, says up to 70 Year 11 leavers from Whitburn Academy, in Rackly Way, met at Cleadon Hills after their final exams last week.
The school says it works with police and passes on any information about events outside its control.
The dog walker claims the children drunk large amounts of alcohol before leaving behind their rubbish, including broken glass.
He says it is the fifth year in a row such an incident has occured, and that he notified the police.
He said: “For the last five years, it has been a tradition for the Year 11 school leavers from Whitburn to gather on the nature reserve of Cleadon Hills after their last examination.
I was appalled at the messDog walker
“I have witnessed this every year and every year I have called the police to report the fact that about 70 children are drinking alcohol and leaving their litter on the hills.
“Last week was the same – the children were left to drink alcohol on the hills and leave their litter behind.
“I was appalled at the mess.
“I’ve got no objections to them celebrating their final day at school, but my objection is to the mess which they leave behind and that they were allowed to sit there drinking alcohol.
“They were drinking vast quantities. I saw them coming up with rucksacks full of drink.
“They leave behind such a mess every single year, and it’s always the dog walkers who end up picking it up.”
The dog walker claims that when he called the police, he was told that officers attended and decided no action was needed, because the children were ‘orderly and well away from a residential area’.
He added: “My first point on this issue is that the attending police could not fail to notice the large amounts of alcohol the children had and also they couldn’t fail to notice the growing litter problem around them.
“The police allowed them to continue and the big mess was the result – the same result we have had five years in a row.
“They often smash the bottles for no apparent reason, so there is broken glass among the rubbish.
“It’s very, very anti-social to leave mess like that.”
Alan Hardie, principal of Whitburn Academy, said: “The school always works closely with the police and passes on any relevant information about events outside the school’s control, where parents are responsible for the behaviour of their children.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “On Friday, June 16, at around 8pm, police followed up a complaint of a large group of young people gathered near to Mill Monument in the Cleadon Hill area.
“Neighbourhood officers attended and spoke to those involved, but found there to be no disorder. The group were located well away from residential areas and were not seen to be drinking alcohol or committing an offence.
“Community Wardens regularly patrol in and around the area and we will continue to work with both the community and our partners to deal with any areas of concern.”