Shropshire Rocks craze 'a danger' for Shrewsbury park users, says council
A new craze to decorate rocks and leave them to be found has been causing a headache for council staff in Shrewsbury.
Within days of the Shropshire Rocks group being formed, hundreds of colourful painted rocks have been left around the county
But Shrewsbury Town Council has said some of them left in the Quarry and Dingle are tripping up elderly people and have been used to throw at ducks and to write on the war memorial.
As a result the council has removed the offending rocks.
But the removal of the decorated works of art has caused upset to some residents who saw them being placed in the bin.
Helen Ball, the town council's clerk, said: "Gardeners at the Dingle are aware of the Shropshire Rocks craze and they have noticed many leaving rocks in and around the Quarry Park and Dingle.
"We have become concerned about this craze as they have witnessed these rocks become caught up in mowers and the big tractor mower and nearly miss visitors innocently sitting on benches.
"They have seen young children finding them and throwing them in the pond and at the ducks.
"They regularly are finding rocks which are still wet and have had to clean benches because visitors have complained about paint being transferred onto their clothing.
"They have seen elderly people trip over them on the paths. And this morning they have removed rocks from the Angel War Memorial as people have used the rocks to write on the stone plinth.
"Staff have been instructed to remove them if they become a concern for other users of the park."
Mrs Ball urged parents to "show common sense" when hiding the rocks and suggested that a feature could be made using the rocks somewhere in the park.
"While we do not wish to be killjoys we would urge parents to show their children common sense when hiding these rocks so that they don't become injurious to other users of the park, the wildlife who live in the park and our staff," she added.
"Parents need to ensure their children are using non-toxic paint and they are dry and sealed with varnish before leaving them.
"If children wish to leave rocks in the Dingle, we could always collect them up and staff can make a feature of them somewhere in the park so that children can come back and look at them."
Sian Thomas posted on the Shropshire Rocks Facebook page to warn others about the rocks being removed.
She said: "To everyone hiding in the dingle in Shrewsbury, the gardeners are putting them in the bin when they find them so be careful where you place them. Such a shame."