CALLS to “stop trashing nature” across Hampshire have been made after large groups fought with broken bottles and dumped piles of rubbish at Hampshire’s nature reserves.

Naked swimmers were also spotted taking a dip in potentially toxic lakes and scores of  thrown-away barbecues were found.

Police dealt with 35 people  and even slapped on a dispersal order in a bid to stop the trouble as reserves became hotbeds of anti-social behaviour.

Some volunteers even found themselves in the centre in brawls where broken bottles were being hurled.

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The dispersal order was brought in to break up large crowds that had gathered at Testwood Lakes.

Witnesses reported seeing families and young people swimming in potentially toxic lakes at Testwood Lakes, Totton, and canoeing in rivers.

In hot weather, the lake often has high levels of blue-green algae, which can pose risks such as diarrhoea, vomiting, dizziness and breathing difficulties and possible long term kidney and liver problems.

From racist graffiti, people fighting with broken bottles, piles of throw-away barbecues and groups of naked swimmers, nature reserves in the region were damaged.

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Now wildlife campaigners have called on the public to “show some respect”.

Debbie Tann, the chief executive of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, pictured, said: “I’m shocked, upset and angry at what’s been going on in our nature reserves. 

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“Of course we want people to be outside and enjoying green spaces and we appreciate that lockdown has taken its toll, but these nature reserves are fragile places, covering just 1% of our overall landscape, and they are vital to protect our most vulnerable wildlife. 

“We shouldn’t have to be worrying about the safety of our staff, volunteers and the public, or clearing up after people who obviously have little thought for anyone or anything. 

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Testwood Lakes by Daily Echo Camera Club member Laura Corkindale

"As an organisation we’ve got enough on our plate at the moment trying to look after these precious places and fighting for nature’s recovery.  

“Lockdown has not meant that the emergency facing nature is on hold, wildlife is still in serious decline and it needs our help.

“I’m asking people to show some respect and stop trashing the nature that we all depend on.” 

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Councillor David Harrison, who represents Totton on New Forest District Council, praised the work of volunteers.

He said: "It is extremely disappointing to have witnessed the sort of behaviour that went on at our local nature reserve recently.

"Those involved seem to have no respect for other people or the environment. Fortunately, volunteers responded in a very positive way and cleared up much of the mess."

Volunteers have also been caught in the middle of violent arguments - with broken bottles being hurled and boats damaged.

Totton North Town and District Cllr Arthur Davis said: "I am absolutely disgusted. I have been in contact with both sailability and the sea scouts, who have both had boats damaged and therefore had to move them to a safer place."

More than 20 bin-liners full of rubbish were collected from the reserve by volunteers on Monday.