NEIGHBOURS are calling for Bolton Council to punish football teams that leave litter when using a popular park.
Players using pitches in Doe Hey Park, Farnworth, regularly leave two bin bags worth of bottles, tape, plastic, glass and, once, a large drinks carrier, they say.
But the council has so far not taken steps to stop the problem — other than sending advisory letters.
Kath Gough, who lives in nearby Cawdor Avenue, was furious when, she claims, she followed up a complaint to the council and was told by an officer that he could not give updates to people who have complained because of “cutbacks”, which she called “dismissive”.
Mrs Gough says the council should make teams pay a deposit on top of the hire fees, which would not be given back if the pitch is left in a poor state.
A council spokesman said further letters had been sent to the teams and that the league concerned had been urged to warn its clubs to clear up after themselves.
Mrs Gough said: “We have lived here since 1987 and in the past 10 years it has got a lot worse.
“My husband often goes out picking up after the footballers as there can be two full bin bags of rubbish.
“Clubs pay for for the season and get the use of toilet and changing facilities, so there is no need to litter there.”
Mrs Gough, aged 60, raised the litter problem in an email to the council in March, but received no update other than that her email had been received.
When she claimed she was told by an officer that she would not be told of any action taken, she contacted Bolton Council’s chief executive, Sean Harriss.
A response apologising for the mix-up was sent 16 days later from Malcolm Cox, the council’s director of environmental services.
It expressed regret that the initial reply sounded dismissive, but said the message had been processed as a “service issue” rather than a standard complaint, meaning the officer was not compelled to reply.
Mrs Gough added: “We don’t want to stop teams using the field for football. It’s right that young people are encouraged to exercise.
“All the council needs to do is put into the terms and conditions a £50 deposit, which teams won’t get back if the pitch is consistently left in a poor state during the season.
“The council cites cutbacks, but is willing to spend money on a litter pick once a week. It does not make sense.”
A council spokesman added: “As a result of the complaints, we have written to the teams to remind them of their players’ responsibility and have also asked the league to bring the matter to the attention of their clubs.
“We trust there will be no repetition of the issues when the new season begins in August.”