The people responsible for dumping rubbish into a river have been dubbed "beasts".

Pete Ralph, a regular walker in the Roding Valley Meadows nature reserve, has become increasingly concerned by the state of the area.

The Broadway, Debden resident has noticed rubbish including plastics and furniture have been thrown onto the river banks and into the water.

Weeks have passed since the dumps were first noticed, with three separate fly-tips following.

Mr Ralph said: "The term beast describes the beastly, uncivilised, selfish behaviour of those guilty of dumping loads of builder's rubble and rubbish onto the banks of the River Roding below the bridge at the Chigwell Lane/M11 Junction.

"There is a security gate there to prevent this but it was either left unlocked or the lock was broken, thus allowing this illegal access.

"Since then local yobos have thrown doors and other dumped material into the river where it joined masses of previously dumped polystyrene material - all now floating downstream.

"Many weeks later and no signs of clear up.

"This is a managed nature reserve but no action has yet been taken by that management."

Despite the recent fly-tipping, Mr Ralph has not stopped walking along the river.

He added: "The area still has its beauty and its natural delights.

"Little egrets still feed in the shallows, buzzards soar overhead and nightingales arrive every spring to nest and serenade the nights with their song.

"This Roding Valley in Loughton and Chigwell must remain the popular venue it is, with rubbish free river banks."

Recently Epping Forest District Council launched a campaign warning homeowners not to hand their rubbish to someone without a waste dumping license.

If that person then fly-tips, the homeowner could be prosecuted.

In the past three years there has been a 38 per cent increase in the number of recorded fly tips in Epping Forest, from 1,683 in 2015/16 to 2,338 in 2017/18.

In March the council admitted the fact that Chigwell and Waltham Abbey centres stopped taking DIY waste in 2016 had led to an increase in illegal dumps.

Essex Wildlife Trust was contacted for comment.