WILDLIFE and birds at a beauty spot are being affected by a constant stream of litter.

Rishton people, community volunteers and councillors have said levels of litter at the canalside have reached new heights.

Ducks on the canal are being caught in items being thrown into the water according to walkers, leading volunteers to urge people to help pick up stray items.

Residents on social media websites started complaining about the mess shortly after a new waterside cafe opened.

Resident Denise Swift said: “There is a lot of rubbish in the water, I saw a pair of ducks having to climb over all the polystyrene, plastic and other rubbish to get further up the canal. There is also a lot of dog mess along the path.”

Local man Ian Perkins added: “It's a shame people treat it like a dogs toilet and as for the floating rubbish kids think it's great throwing things in the canal. Shame half of it floats.”

However other residents said the canal was in great condition after a recent volunteers clean up from Rishton Prospects.

Government responsibility for waterways was passed to the charity the Canal and Rivers Trust in 2012.

Paul Wilkinson from the group said: “We adopted the stretch of the canal through Rishton five years ago, although we have worked on it since 1996. We try our best, as volunteers to keep the canal tidy, and always appreciate feedback.

“However, for a population of 8,000 we are a small group of about 20. We can't do it alone, and it's as simple as picking up an empty bottle or can.

“We try to get the rubbish out of the water as often as we can, indeed, councillors have been involved in this, with great thanks to them, but it really is up to us all.

“The council has always backed us, and known the work we do all over Rishton, and Prospects couldn't thank them enough for the contribution over the last 20 years. Pick it up, it does make a difference.”

Local councillor Ken Moss said: “It really is a small minority of people who just dump rubbish.”