Litter and fly tipping in woods across the South West has cost a charity almost £25,000 in the last two years.
The Woodland Trust said it had faced clearing waste from 39 woods in the region including at Beacon Hill Wood, Shepton Mallet, where a caravan and asbestos had been dumped, and Liverton Copse, Exmouth, where fencing had been tipped.
At Rhododendron Wood, Kentisbeare, household waste had to be removed while a car was burnt out at Parkway Woods in Plymouth.
Nationally, the charity has spent more than £500,000 clearing litter and fly tipping over the last four years. It wants to see stronger deterrents for fly tipping, which is a criminal offence, but in many instances is untraceable.
Norman Starks, the trust’s operations director, said: “Not only is fly tipping illegal, costing us tens of thousands of pounds which could be spent on caring for woods, but it provides a real danger to our native flora and fauna.
“Trees are facing an unprecedented level of threat from disease, pests and development and we need people to help protect them, rather than add to this threat. We cannot assume trees and woods will be around forever if we keep treating them this way.”
The charity owns and manages over 1,200 woods across the UK, covering over 20,000 hectares. It recently launched a project to commemorate the First World War by creating four new woods across the UK.