THE ‘appalling’ behaviour of visitors to the South Lakes area has been condemned after police discovered illegal campers, human waste, a drug driver in a large motor home and even faeces which had been set on fire.

Officers said they encountered the 'poofires' - as well as verbal abuse and environmental damage - when conducting patrols over the weekend.

Campers were also sent packing after they were busted by on-duty officers in the Lakes.

The behaviour has been condemned by local leaders.

Ian Wharton, councillor for Coniston, said: “I have been in contact with most of the people from the area and the general consensus is that it is a relief that we are doing something about this.This is due to the sheer volume of people coming to the area and trashing the place. Human excrement has even been found.

“There have also been trees pulled down, inconsiderate parking on the roads with fixed penalty notices distributed, as well as camping in the woods. The behaviour has been appalling, it is like the locals have been under siege.”

South Lakes Police described the incidents as ‘wholly unacceptable’ and urged people to respect the lockdown rules.

Officers posted about the lockdown violations on social media.

They said: “Significant damage to trees by fire and barbecues, littering, human waste, by people with no respect for the Countryside Code. Please visit responsibly. No overnight stays.”

The warning comes just weeks after a number of fixed penalties were handed out to to campers by Cumbria Police.

Inspector Rachel Gale, of Cumbria Constabulary, said notices handed out included five to people camping at Thirlmere.