A Castlecliff man was devastated to come across a pile of rubbish including razor blades and plastic bottles he believed had been intentionally dumped in the water at the beach.
Karl Fulton and his wife Nicky and their 2-year-old daughter Ivy, who moved to Castlecliff about 10 months ago from Tauranga, were walking along the beach on the weekend when they were passed by an SUV.
"It was going quite quick. Only moments later he was gone again ... back the other way past us.
"It was only not long after that we drove down a bit further in our vehicle to have a nosey.
"We didn't expect to see the rubbish there," Fulton said, adding the vehicle that passed was likely an older style Isuzu SUV.
"It had fresh wheel marks where he'd been taking it all from the back of the wagon and dragging it down to the actual water. It was that fresh that the tide was taking it away as we stood there clearing the rubbish up bringing it up further to the top of the beach."
After the Fultons carried the rubbish away from the tide, Karl went home to get his trailer to load the rubbish.
The items strewn along the beach and in the water included razor blades, old steel handrails and a lot of plastic Coca-Cola bottles.
"We bought a house here about 9, 10 months ago," Karl Fulton said. "We love the beach down here. It's just totally different having driftwood everywhere."
"It's hard to think what people think when they go and do that sort of thing. But going down there and seeing it ourselves, it's actually quite devastating to see.
"You see it over Facebook all the time of other countries getting rubbish dumped all over the place and you look at it and you're quite horrified but you never think it's on your own doorstep."
Fulton said people were possibly cutting the cost of paying to dump rubbish legally by leaving it at the beach.
He said the council should offer one day a year where it was free to take rubbish to the dump.
The self-appointed guardian of Castlecliff Beach is 80-year-old Potonga Neilson.
"It's still a very sad situation ... I don't know what we can do about it. I have taken [dumped] cars off the beach, dragged them with my 4-wheel-drive and taken them to the scrap dealer."
Neilson remembered the beach when it wasn't treated so badly.
"We are not being very nice to our environment.
"I've spent all my life up and down this beach on and off and there was a time when you could sit on the sea shore and watch the kahawai in the surf chasing sprats and that. You don't see that anymore.
"On a nice calm day when the surf rises up you could actually see through the wave and see the kahawai. When I was really young [1950s] you couldn't walk into the water without treading on a flounder."
Whanganui District councillor Jenny Duncan said illegal dumping was a common problem all over the region and Castlecliff was no exception.
"But we certainly need more education on the issue not to mention rego [registration] numbers and photos if people spot someone doing it," she said.
Duncan believed when council litter teams carried out a quick clean up after illegal dumping it sent a message that it wasn't acceptable to dump.