A county Durham truckstop is being closed down at the end of the month due to complaints over anti-social behaviour and health and safety concerns.

Great Aycliffe Town Council said the lorry park on School Aycliffe Lane was being used by operators to site unattended trailers instead of them using a registered haulage yard.

It has no toilet or washing facilities and the council said human waste was regularly encountered in the litter bin within the facility.

There have also been reports of criminal damage, including curtain and tyre slashing incidents and fuel thefts.

In a report by the council’s environment committee, it said: “Between Christmas and New Year, the council was contacted by a member of the public who was concerned about the health implication in the woodlands, following an incident when she followed her dog into the area and discovered various signs of human waste.”

As a result, the council said the site would be closed to HGVs from 1 March: “The council has taken this decision following long-running problems with the site being misused, including unattended vehicles being left on the site, overnight camping, anti-social behaviour, health and safety concerns and pollution incidents,” it said in a statement.

“A height restriction barrier will be installed at the entrance to the car park to prevent the use of the site by HGVs and other large vehicles.

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“The car park will be re-designated as a public car park and overflow for the council offices.

“An alternative lorry parking facility is available at Newton Aycliffe Truck Stop.”

However, the decision has drawn criticism from drivers who said withdrawing the facility would make life harder for truckers.

One said: “That didn’t take long for HGV drivers to be slated and stereotyped again!

“It was only late September/early October when everyone decided they were actually a necessity to the country.”

Another HGV driver said: “I for one parked my truck in this park for three-and-a-half years.

“It seems a silly statement to make that vehicles are left unattended when by default that is the nature of parking a vehicle.

“Remove this facility for the majority of truck drivers that use it to gain a peaceful place to rest, a place to eat, drink and shower at the [nearby sports centre] Oak Leaf and the car park will become a night-time playground for those who do abuse this area.”