WALKERS visiting Ilkley Tarn on New Year’s Day were faced with a disgusting mess left by revellers.

The frozen water was littered with empty cans, bottles and fireworks.

Hilary Rhodes, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, contacted the Gazette to say: “As we arrived for a walk on New Year’s Day day a group of people were walking down with huge bags they had collected full of empty cans and bottles.

“It was disgusting to see even more covering the surface. What a sorry state of affairs.”

Sadly, another walker reported coming across a dead rabbit on the path up to the tarn, which had a wound to its head which looked like it may have been killed by a firework whose casing was nearby.

Volunteers quickly mobilised and were seen wading into the frozen tarn to collect all the rubbish.

Owen Wells, chairman of the Friends of Ilkley Moor (FOIM) said: “The litter left at the Tarn on New Year’s Eve was appalling, but the good news story is that, as soon as people became aware of the mess, volunteers turned up and the litter was completely cleared within an hour or two.

“I went up at 2pm on New Year’s Day, intending to help, but by that time I was too late, as all the mess had been cleared up.

“So far as FoIM are concerned, we think that the deplorable mess was caused by the unique circumstance of people being unable to hold indoor New Year’s Eve parties (and so there were a number of social gatherings in the Riverside Park as well as by the Tarn and the paddling pool on the Moor). We hope that those who left the mess of cans, bottles and fireworks are thoroughly ashamed of themselves, but we applaud the many volunteers who turned out and cleaned up.”

The Friends of Ilkley Moor have established a new litter picking group.

For further information about how you can get involved with the FoIM and membership visit www.ilkleymoor.org