It goes beyond the pale - one of Wearside’s most loved beaches has been left without toilets at the busiest time of year.
The toilet block closest to the Cat and Dog Steps in Roker has been shut to visitors for weeks.
Without anyone to go, some have defecated and urinated on the floor and into a bucket left outside the male loos.
Sunderland City Council has admitted the facilities have been shut due to pipe problems which has resulted in them becoming “blocked on a regular basis” with plans to carry out repairs being made.
Among those to complain to the council is Karen King, from Roker, who goes to the beach on a regular basis with her Lhasa Apso Rosie.
She said: “It’s been closed on numerous occasions, it’s closed more often than it’s been open.
I feel sorry for those who are desperate.Karen King
“There are a lot of people with dogs and a lot of elderly people who come down very early, and it’s a bit of a community.
“Some are lonely and come down for a chat and it’s a nice place to come and sit.
“Now they can’t stay very long.
“I’ve tried calling the council but I’ve either not got much or any response about the reason why.
“If people can’t go there, then they have to head further along at Roker or to the Fat Buddha, which is about three quarters of a mile away.
“When it’s predominantly older or retired people, that’s a long way.
“I feel sorry for those who are desperate.”
A 61-year-old woman from Seaburn, who asked not to be named, added: “I live quite close so if I need to go I can just run home.
“The area around the Cat and Dogs Steps is really popular and there are a lot of disabled people and families who come down here.
“What happens if you’re a woman on her period?
“Something needs to be done.”
Councillor Michael Mordey, cabinet for City Services, said: “The toilets at the Cat and Dog steps are temporarily closed due to issues with the pump and pipework under the building which have resulted in them becoming blocked on a regular basis.
“We are working to reopen the toilets as soon as possible.
“A new part is currently on order but as this is having to be manufactured it’s possible that the toilets may have to remain closed for another few weeks.
“In the meantime people are being advised to use the toilets at Marine Walk, Roker or the toilets at the Fat Buddha in Seaburn.
“The toilets at the Fat Buddha are currently operated by the restaurant on the council’s behalf but will be coming back under council management from September 4.”