ORGANISERS of a litter campaign to keep the county’s roads verges clean claim it has been ‘sabotaged’.

A giant hedgehog and love-heart shaped ‘this is not a bin’ sign, which forms part of the #LoveYourVerge campaign to deter people from discarding litter by the roadside due to the presence of rare wildlife was vandalised angering environmental campaigners.

Consequently, the sign, on the A354 Weymouth relief road near the Veasta roundabout displayed the message: ‘this is a bin’ rather than ‘this is not a bin’ prompting some to discard their waste on the relief road.

As a result, Dorset County Council’s countryside staff were called out yesterday afternoon to clean up a big rubbish heap ranging from crisp packets, sweet wrappers, coffee cups and single-use plastic bottles as well as fast food paper bags.

The ‘This is not a bin’ sign was also removed so it could be repaired.

Bridget Betts, who is leading the campaign, said: “It’s terrible and appalling behaviour and a clear prime example of Weymouth’s anti-social behaviour problem, the minority are spoiling it for the majority.

“The rubbish pile was so awful that the Dorset Countryside team had to go out and clear the pile at the expense of the taxpayer which is completely unacceptable, it’s already a chronic issue in the county.

“The current sign is in a really dangerous location and attempting to change the sign changes the message of the campaign completely.

“It is incidents like this that highlight the attitudes that people have towards litter in Dorset so we need more people to shout it but most importantly to change peoples attitudes and challenge people when attempting to litter.”

Bridget added it was an attempt to sabotage their campaign and is urging anyone who knows anything about the incident to get in touch.

Meanwhile, Stewart Derbyshire, a local poet, also backed Bridget’s calls by writing a poem, saying: “Throwing rubbish out of your car has cost the public thousands so far with organising staff to pick it up.

“Wrappers and plastic and the odd paper cup, it’s easy to see the mess it all makes but not everyone knows the process it takes to sort it all out and make it look nice.

“If only drivers would stop and think twice.”

The sign is one of three in the county produced by artist Claire Nuttall along with a fierce Stag beetle on the A354 heading up towards Blandford and a Red Heart with flowers & bees located on West Moors Road at Ferndown.

Litter Free Dorset, which launched the campaign at the start of March, is made up of a group of local government organisations, charities and community groups with their aim to work together to reduce the social, economic and environmental impacts of litter.

Find out more about the campaign by finding Litter Free Dorset on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.