AUTHORITIES are stepping up action to stop an increasing spate of human fouling in Norton.

Dozens of human stools, dirty toilet paper and underwear have appeared on footpaths around the Westfield Industrial Estate over the past few weeks.

Incidents have also recently been reported elsewhere in the town, including at the children’s play area in Riverside View and near shops in Commercial Street.

Norton councillor Keane Duncan, who is also leader of Ryedale District Council (RDC), said the authority is working with businesses on the nearby industrial estate and the police, with woodland patrols due to start and prosecutions possible.

He said: “This disgusting behaviour has no place in our town, but sadly appears to only be getting worse.

“It needs to stop and we are working hard to crackdown on it.

“Officers have met the owner of the path, North Yorkshire Police, Karro and Yorkshire Baker in a bid to work together on this issue.

“Most significantly, the security team at Karro and PCSOs will soon commence woodland patrols around the industrial estate.

“Ryedale District Council is also looking at introducing a bye-law to prosecute anyone caught ‘in the act’.

“This would give the council power to fine offenders and send a strong warning to others that this will not be tolerated in our town.”

Cllr Duncan said the woods, fields and footpaths around the industrial estate had “effectively become a toilet”.

He said: “I’ve been shocked by the discoveries - tens of human stools, dirty underwear, toilet roll and sanitary towels.

“Complaints have been flooding in from residents disturbed by the situation, including from one shocked lady who encountered a man with his pants down.

“This is now a footpath from hell that residents are choosing to avoid.”

He added: “We are supposed to live in a civilised society.

“This disgusting behaviour is a hazard to health and it has got to stop.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated and is completely unnecessary.

“To foul the street and to dispose of sanitary waste in a public space is distressing to the local residents and also presents a health hazard.

“We would ask that anyone who witnesses anything of this nature in the area to contact police on 101 and report their concerns.”