ELDERLY churchgoers have been picking up illegally dumped rubbish and rats have been ripping bin bags apart and feasting on their findings in an alley in the centre of Salisbury.
Business owners and St Thomas’s Church have been left fuming at waste being dumped in the alleyway, which is off Minster Street on land owned by the church.
St Thomas’s parish manager Lyn Kinsey said the rubbish is a recurring problem and is not only a health hazard but has also cost them financially when they have reached the end of their tether and removed it themselves.
“It’s our property they are dumping it on,” she said.
“We are in the city centre and by a river and you expect there to be a rat problem, but we have gone to considerable expense to keep our own rubbish properly under control, and then people just dump this on our land.
“We are a charity and it is not acceptable.
“We have had elderly ladies clearing it up, and it gets worse when the rats bite the bin bags and the rubbish goes everywhere. Rubbish is hard to get rid of these days and we don’t know what’s in those bags – it could be anything.”
She said sometimes even large items such as sofas have been dumped there.
Businesses around the area are also furious about the problem.
Sebastian Salt of W Carter and Son jewellers said: “We have got rats coming up there and it is a health and safety issue. There are about 15 to 20 bin bags at the moment and it’s stretching the whole length of the alleyway.
“It looks a right state. If it’s commercial waste then it should be labelled properly so it is picked up.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “There have been issues in the past when rubbish has been dumped here and we have had to remind nearby tenants to use their own bins rather than leave bags in this alleyway, which is private land.
“We’ve also spoken to the landowners about the issue.
“We understand the concerns of local businesses and we will investigate further as well as reminding nearby residents to use the bins provided. If this continues, however, we may take enforcement action and prosecute those responsible.”