THE story of farmer John Atkinson is shocking but sadly typical of the way the countryside of Cumbria is being treated at the moment.

Mr Atkinson's tales of finding huge quantities of litter on his farmland, as well as disgusting human faeces, illegal ravers and even an unrepentant couple sunbathing amongst his sheep is bad enough - but part of a wider problem which is blighting beauty spots in the south of the county.

People just don't seem to care about looking after our beautiful green spaces and it seems to have got worse since lockdown measures were relaxed.

Huge crowds have been descending on the Lakes, with some behaving 'appallingly' as a Coniston councillor said this week - parking inconsiderately (even blocking in emergency services), pulling up trees, not to mention the many cases of campers breaching lockdown restrictions. No wonder the authorities decided to close the C5018 from Nibthwaite to the north end of Coniston village, in an attempt to stop the deluge of visitors.

Mr Atkinson is quite correct to say that better signage to inform of the do's and don'ts of the countryside would be welcome.

But while it is very sad it has to come to this, unless people can behave themselves and show respect for our area's natural beauty, even tougher measures - higher fines, for example- need to come in.