Police have come under fire after a man who reported the dumping of up to 40 bags of cannabis waste at a North York Moors beauty spot was told he should instead contact the council.

Large numbers of plastic bin bags were found on June 3 in a stream at Thimbleby, near Osmotherley. A local resident said he was astonished to be told by police to instead report the matter to the council, especially after a campaign by officers warning landlords to be on the alert for cannabis farms.

The man, who asked not to be named, said the bags are still there. He added: “I found it concerning that when large amounts of cannabis waste are dumped, there seems little interest shown by the police or local authorities.

“The most disturbing aspect is the eyesore it creates. This crime now seems to be taking place fairly regularly within a couple of miles of my home. I reported the latest incident to the police on June 4 and the council on June 5. Nothing has been done to either remove the waste or inspect the bags.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“It seems the police are unwilling to deal with this problem. Having called 101 to report it I was informed this was a matter for the council. Having spent almost half an hour questioning this, it was somewhat infuriating that they were not prepared to follow this up, although I was given a crime number – strange given they were not prepared to treat the incident as a crime.

“The police suggested I inform the council, they would then collect the waste, and if it was suspicious, the matter would be reported to the police by the council. Given almost two weeks have passed with the waste still sitting there, this process seems somewhat flawed and totally inadequate. It is hardly surprising given the ineffectiveness of the police and local authorities to deal with these incidents that cannabis farms continue to dump waste in the countryside and thrive in our region.”

North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director for environmental services, Michael Leah said: “We were alerted to this issue on June 5 and have undertaken a site visit to assess how we can clear it. Whilst the responsibility for clearing material would normally sit with the landowner, given the circumstances and the challenging nature of the location, we have agreed to appoint a contractor. It is a difficult site to access with a vehicle and we do not have the equipment to do it ourselves. It will be cleared as soon as possible.” North Yorkshire Police did not respond to requests to comment.