Swanpool Nature Reserve in Falmouth has “fallen victim to pollution from indiscriminate dumping of garden waste”, according to a group set up to manage it.

The Nature Reserve is protected by Natural England and hosts a variety of flora and fauna, however the “dumping of garden waste into the area behind the pool” has seen Japanese knotweed re-introduced to the pool, and it is “spreading at an alarming rate”.

Pete Lochrie from Swanpool Beach, chairman of the Swanpool Management Forum said: “Unfortunately we have witnessed the re-introduction of Japanese Knotweed through the dumping of garden waste into the pool.

The site is SSSI protected and it is a criminal offence to dump garden waste here; anyone caught doing so could face prosecution.

It’s such a shame that after years of working to eliminate knotweed we face this problem again. The nature reserve is protected by Natural England and very precious to the local people is the variety of wildlife it supports.

“While I’m sure the people who dumped the garden waste did not believe they |were doing anything destructive, we urge those who live around the pool to be vigilant and those responsible to cease from dumping grass cuttings and hedge trimmings into the Nature Reserve to protect the resident species.”

Japanese knotweed, is a large, herbaceous perennial plant native to the far east. Classified as an invasive species, it forms thick, dense colonies that completely crowd out any other herbaceous species and is resilient to cutting, vigorously sprouting from the roots.

It is an offence under section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to "plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild" any Japanese knotweed. It is also classed as controlled waste in Britain and requires disposal at licensed landfill sites.