Newcastle Town Moor damaged by bottle hunters

Image source, Freemen of Newcastle
Image caption,
Illegal bottle hunters have been digging up areas of Newcastle Town Moor at night

Animals are being injured and people put at risk by holes dug by illegal bottle hunters.

There have been a spate of unauthorised night digs on Newcastle's Town Moor in recent weeks with 6ft (1.8m)-deep holes and broken glass being left behind.

Newcastle City Council and the Freemen of Newcastle who manage the moor have condemned those responsible.

The mainly Victorian and Edwardian bottles used to be dumped in areas like the moor and can be worth thousands.

Town Moor superintendent Kevin Batey said incidents had been reported on 11, 12 and 17 September with a section of Nuns Moor Central being a particular target because it was excluded from a professional dig some years ago to protect trees.

Image source, Freemen of Newcastle
Image caption,
Rubbish used to be dumped in areas such as the Town Moor

He told a meeting of the council's Town Moor Joint Working Group: "They are coming in the dead of night and digging underneath the tree canopy, digging through trees roots, sawing through tree roots."

Mr Batey said about 15 holes had been "left open for cattle, the public, dogs", the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"Cattle are going lame because they are standing on broken glass," he said, adding: "It is becoming a daily exercise just to keep on top of the debris."

Ged Bell, the council's cabinet member for employment and culture, said: "It has been causing some horrendous problems on the moor."

Northumbria Police said patrols were being upped in the area.

David Robertson of the Northumberland and Durham Bottle Collectors Club said members must follow a strict policy of getting permission from landowners and leaving any digs tidy.

But, he said, there are unscrupulous diggers who "could not give a monkeys" and will dig anywhere "to make some money".

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