A park was turned into a “rubbish tip” after groups of people left their litter dumped on the ground instead of taking it home, according to a neighbour.

Ashley Phillips, who lives in Bunns Lane, said he was “shocked and dismayed” by the “disgusting mess” in Mill Hill Park, which he spotted during his morning run on Wednesday, June 3.

Paper plates, drinks bottles and plastic carrier bags were among the items left on the grass and paths by picnickers the previous evening.

The incident comes amid a general increase in littering in the borough’s parks since the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, the council has said.

Mr Phillips said: “It is definitely the worst I’ve seen it in a long time. There were five or six parties across the park, and people had just got up and left.

“I run round the park five times every morning. There were bottles of drink in the middle of the park, five or six bottles of ketchup that had not been used – obviously they had been on a shopping spree.

“Some had attempted to put the litter near a bin because the bin was full. But if the bin is overflowing, take it home. If people dropped something, pick it up and put it in the bin.

“Some of these pictures are 200m from a bin and some of it is still just sitting there on the grass.

“In fairness, within four or five hours the park was spotless, but it must have taken several crews to clear it.”

Mr Phillips said he would like to see measures put in place to stop the littering happening again, such as signs urging people to take their rubbish home.

He added that CCTV and extra police patrols could also be introduced, as the park has witnessed several instances of antisocial behaviour in recent weeks.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately there has been an increase in littering in our parks since lockdown was eased. We would like to remind everyone that they should put their rubbish in a bin or take it home with them. Your litter is your responsibility. Help us keep our parks and open spaces tidy.

“We are aware of some anti-social behaviour in Mill Hill Park, and we have asked our enforcement officers at Kingdom Support Group to conduct additional patrols in the area. We have also raised the matter with the police.

“We have increased the amount of litter picks in the park, but we are also reliant on the goodwill of the public. Everyone should do their bit to keep our parks tidy by not littering them in the first place.”