A Llanelli beauty spot has been blighted by vandals who have set light to trees and sculptures as well as disposing of litter including discarded cans and bottles of alcohol. The damage at Coed Cefn Padrig, a woodlands at Sandy Water Park was discovered by media consultant, journalist and broadcaster Robert Lloyd. The former editor of the Llanelli Star said it was ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

Well respected journalist: Robert Lloyd

Speaking to Llanelli Online, Mr Lloyd who is a keen walker said:

“Evening and night-time visitors to the woodland have been setting fires for BBQs and drinking sessions. On Sunday, I counted six sites where fires had been lit. One was still smouldering at 11am. At every site, you’ll find discarded litter, bottles and cans.

“The woodland walk has (over the years) been vandalised. Trail markers and sculptures have been ruined. The woods have become something of a ‘no-go’ area at evening time as the outdoor drinkers take over.

“It’s easy to say it’s a youth problem. The reality is a little different. Yes, there are some youths setting fires, but there are also adults setting makeshift BBQs and fire pits in the woodland.

“Plainly, there is a fire risk as the weather gets warmer and the woodland dries out. The woodland is gradually being dismantled as the vandals snap branches from trees and cut down smaller saplings for fire fuel.

“What’s to be done?

“Well, plainly it’s a difficult area for the police to patrol. Perhaps, we need some Millennium Coastal Park wardens? But, one suspects, they would find it difficult to enforce any fire ban in the woodland.”

Executive board member responsible for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “It’s great that people are out and about in the county enjoying this lovely weather. The majority of people are responsible and clean up after themselves, taking their litter home or depositing it in the bins provided. Unfortunately there is a minority who show total disregard to their surroundings and leave their rubbish expecting someone else to pick it up – this is not acceptable.

“We are increasing our patrols in this area and anyone caught misbehaving or lighting fires will be dealt with accordingly. Officers will continue to work closely with the local PCSOs and Keep Wales Tidy.

“I would encourage anyone who sees any litter problems or fly-tipping to report it to our enforcement officers who now have additional powers to serve people with a fixed penalty notice of up to £350.”

Residents can report litter problems and fly-tipping online at www.ilocal.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/report/ or call 01267 234567

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