Residents fury at campers ‘dumping faeces’ along Portobello coast

Portobello residents are unhappy about the campervans and caravans at the King's Place car park.
Portobello residents are unhappy about the campervans and caravans at the King's Place car park.
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Angry residents have alleged unwanted campers in a popular seaside car park are dumping their own faeces on the popular Portobello beach.

Around 15 campervans and caravans now take up the majority of the King’s Place car park, something which has infuriated residents for around three years.

But the situation has deteriorated further in recent weeks with reports that human waste is being dumped by campers in the vicinity including the beach and sea.

Craigmillar resident Bridgeen Caulfield made the grim discovery while on her daily dog walk with a friend.

She said: “My friend’s dog went up on land near the car park and she went over to see what he was looking at and she stood in it. It was absolutely disgusting and it is the last straw for me. It is a definite health hazard and can attract rats and spread disease.

“Something needs to be done now because camping has been going on there for years.”

Some campers are so at home now that a wooden chalet has been erected which is said to be taking up four parking bays. The car park currently has no parking restrictions meaning any vehicle can park there as long as it is not causing an obstruction.

Police Scotland does have powers to remove caravans that are causing an obstruction, though the trailers in question are believed to not fall under that bracket.

The city council is proposing to introduce a Traffic Regulation Order to restrict drivers to a maximum three hours parking, with no return within two hours, to address this. However many of the mobile homes are static caravans meaning they will not have to abide by the restrictions, if approved.

Tory Portobello/Craigmillar councillor Callum Laidlaw believes the city council needs to follow in the footsteps of Fife Council which introduced a by-law on West Sands beach in St Andrews to stop people from camping overnight.

He said: “I have had people approach me about this issue on a weekly basis. I have requested temporary CCTV for the car park which can be deployed by police in hotspot areas to gather evidence of campers dumping human waste. Parking restrictions in Scotland do not include camping and I feel the only way we can move forward is for Edinburgh City Council to follow Fife Council’s lead in introducing this by-law.

“The situation has now developed further and it is clear something needs to be done.

“This is presumably not an isolated incident and is occurring at other seaside locations in the country. I believe there should be an amendment to the parking bill by the Scottish Government to stop this from happening.”

A council spokesperson said: “Environmental Wardens, along with Police Scotland, regularly patrol this area and have found no evidence of antisocial behaviour associated with caravans to date, but we take the illegal disposal of waste very seriously and will investigate any reports.”