‘Steaming’ mess left at Surat Bay

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A Catlins couple were “disgusted” by an act of malicious defecation beside a public toilet they volunteer to clean.

“It’s horrible,” Surat Bay Lodge owner Esther Johnson said, after her husband Jack Johnson found the mess a short distance from their backpackers lodge.

“I only just missed the b****r,” Mr Johnson said.

“It was still steaming when I got there. It would have been great to catch them in the act. I would have liked to have thrown it at them.”

Mrs Johnson said it was clear the act was deliberate, and not caused by desperate circumstances.

“They actually went inside the unit and took toilet paper to wipe with, then just dropped it beside it,” she said.

The Surat Bay pair had no idea who could have done the deed.

Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan said this was the first incident he had heard of “people defecating where they shouldn’t” this year.

“Following a ban on freedom camping over most of the Catlins area in late 2019, discoveries of public faeces had dropped dramatically.

“Previously it was almost a daily thing,” Mr Cadogan said.

There would never be a “perfect answer” to the problem, but his heart went out to the Surat Bay residents, he said.

“I feel sorry that the people who have undertaken the cleaning of the toilet would have to be subjected to that.

“Who wants to deal with someone else’s mess?

“It’s really disheartening.”