A COUNCIL clean up has found that flytippers have dumped bicycles and shopping trollies into the River Ouse.

Lewes District Council has slammed those who dump their unwanted belongings in the river, after finding shopping trolleys, fencing, concrete blocks and metal poles.

Anyone caught illegally flytipping either on land or water could face a fine up to £50,000 and a prison sentence of 12 months for a summary conviction.

Councillor Matthew Bird, a cabinet member for sustainability, said dumping unwanted rubbish is "hugely irresponsible".

He said: “I’m sorry to say there has been a persistent problem over the years of some people discarding unwanted items into the River Ouse, particularly around the Willey’s Bridge area.

"This is hugely irresponsible and detrimental to the environment.

“A build-up of rubbish can obstruct the natural flow and poses a real risk of flooding when water is travelling fast."

The Environment Agency is appealing to people to stop dumping objects in the river following the clear-up by specialist contractors between Cliff Bridge and Willey’s Bridge earlier this month.

Environment Agency flood team leader, Paul Levitt, said: “Flytipping in and around watercourses is illegal.

"It ruins the environment for people and pollution can harm plants and animals.

"It can also increase flood risk, especially when it blocks our structures making maintenance work more difficult or even dangerous.”