A walker has blamed council failings for litter spoiling a popular beauty spot.
Alan Robinson, 61, said he was shocked by the lack of action to empty the jam-packed container at Cleadon Hills and urged council’s cleaning teams to be more proactive in their approach to keeping the well-known countryside location in pristine condition.
The retired software engineer spotted the full-to-the-brim bin, which is sited close to Sunniside Lane, during a stroll on Sunday.
Mr Robinson, of Moor Lane East, Harton, South Shields, who photographed it, believes it must have gone unchecked for at least three days.
He said: “This represents a complete failure by the local authority when it comes to maintenance of the area.
“It’s not very often that I get motivated to take a picture like this but on this occasion what I came across was really disgusting.
“I go for a walk up these hills most weeks and the bin is usually much better looked after, but on Sunday it was like this.
“The sheer number of bags of dog mess means that it couldn’t have just happened, it must have been like that for a while.
“This is an iconic area and I hope the council will better look after these countryside areas.”
Cleadon Hills is part of a conservation area that includes the former Cleadon Water Pumping Station, now mainly converted to private housing, and Sunniside Farm.
Part of the site is open grassland, which features a derelict windmill.
Local authorities have a duty to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas.
They must consider features such as building layout, open spaces, boundaries and thoroughfares.
South Tyneside Councils said it was committed to maintaining cleanliness at all borough sites.
A spokeswoman said: “We would like to thank the resident for bringing this matter to our attention. The bin has now been emptied.
“We are committed to keeping our open spaces clean and tidy and our street cleansing teams visit this popular area three times a week to empty the four litter bins provided. However, we will continue to monitor the situation at this location.
“We also thank the public for their support in using the bins provided.
“However, if a bin is full, we would appeal for visitors to use one of the other bins in this area or take their litter home with them.
“Members of the public can also report an overflowing bin to the Customer Contact Centre so that arrangements can be made for it to be emptied sooner.”