A normally green and scenic route through the forest resembled more of a junk yard after around 12 tonnes of waste was left scattered across the road.

On Thursday, a 20-yard lorry drove along Claypit Hill, on the Waltham Abbey edge of the forest, dumping mattresses, building materials and bin bags filled with rubbish over its sides.

Now, Epping Forest District Council, Essex Police and forest keepers are beginning an investigation to trace the culprits.

City of London Corporation’s Superintendent of the Forest, Paul Thompson said act is part of a worrying trend.

He said: “The keepers were some of the first on the scene. They acted quickly to close the road.

“The lorry had just driven down and dumped everything in the middle of the road. It normally happens in Wake Road which is closed at the moment. We think out of frustration they just dumped it on the road and ran.

“What we are seeing at the moment is fly tipping being down for household waste but a lot more commercial waste, it is happening around eight to ten times per week, especially at High Beach and Wansted Flats.

“They are deliberately avoiding going to landfill sites. Materials with asbestos and plasterboard are being dumped because they will be charged for them at a tip.”

At the moment, landfill sites are charging around £72 per tonne of commercial waste, a cost which is continually rising.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s designed to stimulate reuse and recycling, but as in this case, it also encourages evasion.

”Three-years-ago a reward scheme was started for anyone identifying fly-tippers. We can give up to £500 to someone if the information they give leads to a prosecution.

“There aren’t as many prosecutions as we would like because it is difficult to prove, unless they leave invoices and things by accident.

“The police are following a number of leads. Fly tipping in the forest is so irresponsible. It is an internationally important site for public recreation and wildlife conservation.

”Anyone who would like to know more about the reward scheme should visit http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/epping-forest/about-us/Pages/Keeping-the-Forest-tidy.aspx.