A popular Hastings swimming hole has been so "abused" by people dumping their rubbish that it took regional council staff two days to clean it up.
The spot along the Ngaruroro River at the end of Ormond Rd has been treated like the town landfill with people tossing out everything from dirty nappies, to dead sheep and even a burnt-out car.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council's (HBRC) pollution response and enforcement team leader Mike Alebardi said a complaint was made by resident Janine Russell, and was followed up by the council.
"Untold rubbish is dumped there," he said.
"There is an area you can have a picnic and a really nice swimming spot and it has just been totally abused which is a real shame.
"I mean even down there today [Wednesday] there are nappies, there is soft drink waste, food waste everywhere, there is a burnt-out car down there - it is just horrendous."
The complaint, made on Tuesday, included not one, but two sheep carcasses that were allegedly dumped by a ute.
Mr Alebardi said he spoke with the complainant and hoped to get some more information about the incident.
He said the animals were located and removed yesterday by a staff member - who spent time away from his normal duties to address the issue.
"There were two sheep in [the river], there is a lot of rubbish down there as well so there was a guy down there for a full day yesterday picking up rubbish," he said.
"And he will probably spend another day down there as well."
Mrs Russell said the Ngaruroro River had been very special to her ever since both her and her daughter Aimee were baptised there.
"It was so disheartening knowing this place was so special to us," she said.
"There were kids swimming in the water. As we walked down we looked back and noticed a white 4WD ute backed up to the river."
Thinking they were the family of the kids swimming, Ms Russell didn't think too much until she saw sheep intestines floating down past where her family and dogs were paddling in the water.
"The blood and guts started to float down stream around all of us," she said.
"They were floating all around the children."
She said it wasn't until they walked up to where the ute was that they saw the livestock.
"The legs had been cut off, possibly for meat, before they were dumped," she said.
"I can't believe someone could dump them while kids were swimming.
"We left after this because it was so upsetting. Hawke's Bay is so blessed to have beautiful rivers. I can't believe the disrespect people have."
Ms Russell was not the only one disheartened by the way the area had been treated - she said another member of the public was there picking up rubbish.
"This is so sad that people can do this to our beautiful rivers," the complainant said.
"Can something not be done to protect our rivers and waterways?
"Signs warning of hefty fines for dumping rubbish and cameras could be a good start."
Mr Alebardi said the HBRC has no ability to issue infringements. As such he asks if anyone sees anything if they can get a photo or a car registration number to ring the council's pollution hotline on 0800 108 838.
"[The waterhole] is accessible to the public [and it] is a fantastic spot," he said.
"You have just got these people who go down there and totally mistreat it.
"It is a fine balance, because what do you do? Do you just lock the gate and let no one go down there and punish the people who do respect that area?"