LITTERING has become an "awfully massive problem" in areas in and around Salisbury according to a local dog walker, while litter pick up events remain on hold.

Laverstock resident Ruth Harris, who regularly walks through the parish, has filled two rubbish bags with litter since December, including sweet wrappers, empty alcohol cans and bottles, coffee cups and sandwich packets.

The 57-year-old described the level of littering as "disgusting and inconsiderate", adding: "You want to go out and see nature, not a dumping ground.

"It's a culture we've gotten into unfortunately, it's become a habit for some people to chuck rubbish from car windows or just dump carrier bags.

"When I'm out on dog walks carrying a collected bag of rubbish, people do comment asking 'What's that?' and I just have to say 'It's what I've picked up in the last half an hour.'"

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Following the second nerve agent incident in July, the public were advised for their own safety to not pick up litter that did not belong to them, and a spokesperson for Wiltshire Council added that advice from Public Health England remains in Amesbury and Salisbury: "If you didn't drop it, don't pick it up."

This means community litter pick ups are still postponed until further notice.

The spokesperson added the council will be spending more than £2.5 million on litter collection this year, adding: “We are working in partnership with town and parish councils to replace old litter bins and there is further delegations of the service to local councils so services can meet the needs of the area concerned."

Laverstock and Ford parish councillor, David Burton, said litter picking schemes in Laverstock had consequently taken a hit, adding: "We have got good litter picking and litter bin provision/collection in place at our facilities across the parish and we make effective use of Wiltshire Council Parish Steward services. But the litter bugs are a continued threat/issue."

Parish councillor Karen Beard said the last litter picking events were held in spring 2018 to coincide with the national Great British Spring Clean event, adding: "Prior to the [nerve agent] restrictions, we held regular community / volunteer litter picking events across the parish, including with Laverstock Beavers and Cubs."

Ruth suggested supermarkets and local shops could take an active role and get involved with initiatives to prevent littering, adding: "I wish we were looking after the environment more, we share this space after all, and it's not just Laverstock - it's an awfully massive problem."

Wiltshire councillor for Laverstock, Ford and Old Sarum, councillor Ian McLennan, said: "Although individual residents diligently pick up odd pieces of litter, what is missed, in every community, is the ability to organise a group pick up.

"I look forward to the Wiltshire Council review of their advice, so communities can again make their locality sparkle."