An “unprecedented” amount of litter is being left in the borough’s parks following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, according to the council’s environment chief.

Geoff Mee, Barnet’s executive director of environment, said people are being “grossly irresponsible” in the way they deposit litter – as more photos emerged showing the scale of the problem.

The environment chief said one incident, in which people held a barbecue in a park at 4.30 in the morning, had recently been reported to the police.

“The volumes of litter are absolutely unprecedented in our parks at the moment,” Mr Mee told a meeting of the environment committee on Tuesday (June 30).

“People are being grossly irresponsible about the way they are depositing their litter – they are just leaving it there, not even trying to put it in the bin.

“We’re thrilled that people are enjoying the parks – we just want them to be more responsible about how they use them.”

After the meeting, the council revealed it had taken a team of ten staff members a whole day to clear rubbish that was recently dumped in Scratchwood Open Space, Edgware.

In June, pictures of litter left strewn across Mill Hill Park led one resident to complain it had been “turned into a rubbish tip”.

Cllr Roberto Weeden-Sanz (Conservative, Brunswick Park), chair of the safer communities partnership board, commented: “It is disgusting that a small minority of litter louts continue to spoil our parks for everybody. It’s important in a busy city like London that we can have these beautiful places where we can go to unwind and stay active.

“We are privileged to have more than 200 green spaces in Barnet, and we will do everything we can to protect them from this mucky minority. Your litter is your responsibility. Put your rubbish in a bin. If the bin is full, take it home with you. There is no excuse for defiling our parks and open spaces with your muck.

“We have increased the number of rubbish collections and enforcement officers in our green spaces, and we are also grateful to our many volunteer litter-pickers across the borough. But we are also reliant on the goodwill of the public. Everyone should do their bit to keep our parks tidy by not leaving trash strewn all over them.”