MYSTERY surrounds the return of a nasty niff to Royal Wootton Bassett.

Former town mayor Les Willis has complained about the unpleasant aroma which he believes is coming from the nearby landfill site belonging to Crapper and Sons.

But the claim has come as a surprise to the waste firm which says easterly winds for the past three weeks mean any smell would not have gone near the town.

Les, who was mayor in 1997, is asking the company to take action. He said: “It does depend on which way the wind is blowing but the other day the smell was pretty awful.

“I work for Royal Mail meaning I’m a key worker so I was driving along the motorway past the landfill and it smelt absolutely disgusting. One can only presume it is methane gas escaping.”

In February townspeople complained about the pong coming from the site to the west, close to the M4. One woman described it as sometimes like bad eggs.

At the time Crappers said wind and rain had hampered work to cap off an open cell of waste and the wet conditions had led to an increase in some odours because the gases were being squeezed out of the landfill.

Les said: “Quite a few months ago there was a lot of heavy rain and the smell was very bad. We were all told that once the rain stopped the smell would leave. But it hasn’t.”

In April the firm said in a post on social media: “Just before lockdown we had finished capping the sides of cell 10 with only the centre of the cell left to finish. This part of the cell has still at least three meters of waste to go on before it can be capped.

“With the current situation, this has meant a huge reduction in volumes of waste which means very little waste has been placed into the cell.”

But the company says its team is managing the cell daily and with the sunny weather and the land being disturbed less, the gases emitting from it have been reduced.

Head of communications Paul Heaphy said: “We want to apologise to the people of Bassett for the smell in the town. We are quite surprised that this has come up again because since lockdown we haven’t put anymore waste on the site.

“And for the past three or four weeks we’ve had easterly winds which means that any smell coming from our site wouldn’t affect Wootton Bassett. There are other landfills and farms in the area that could be causing this issue.”