Walkers and cyclists have been left “disgusted” after dog waste bins were removed along a canal footpath, with people already reporting “increased mess.”

The bins along the canal towpath through Devizes to Caen Hill Locks were recently removed by the Canal and River Trust sparking angry reactions from locals.

The trust has since confirmed that the decision was made in order to cut “soaring costs” and will be enforced at many of their towpaths in the South West.

But while dog owners were warned to take waste with them, residents have reported increased mess being left along the route.

Pete Giddings, who walks or cycles along the towpath daily, said: “Devizes has an issue with dog fouling in general, but I have already seen an uptick in mess.

“I have seen poo bags left on the side of the bank, thrown into trees, thrown into the water, or not picked up at all.

“People aren’t bothering as there’s no bins, it’s revolting and a public health issue because kids will step in it and cyclists have to swerve to avoid it.

“It’s not very pleasant by the water anymore.”

Mark Evans, the Canal and River Trust’s regional director, explained removing bins on the Kennet & Avon Canal would save around £39,000 spent on servicing them annually.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: A section of the canal in DevizesA section of the canal in Devizes

He said: “Our priority must be maintaining the core fabric of the waterways, including the thousands of locks, bridges, aqueducts and historic structures that make up the canal network, so that we can continue to provide free access to towpaths for millions of people and maintain the integrity of the infrastructure to keep communities safe.

“The decision to remove bins will save much-needed money that will help pay for a long list of vital repairs. 

“The Trust has many miles of canal where we don’t provide litter and dog waste bins, including many that have achieved Green Flag Award status.”

The decision to cut this “huge expense” comes as the trust faces rising costs and falling funding.

Mr Evans claimed the government’s decision to reduce grant funding by over £300 million across ten years would “threaten the future of the nation’s historic canals.”

The trust say they sought local funding before making the decision and gave Devizes Town Council the opportunity to take over management the bins.

But Cllr Iain Wallis explained that the council declined this offer due to the cost and time this would take.

Walkers have been urged to follow the countryside code by disposing of their dog’s waste responsibly when using waterways.