MYSTERY surrounds the person who dug a 12ft deep trench across a public footpath at an Urmston beauty spot.

The trench, which it is believed was dug out under the cover of darkness a fortnight ago, has caused major disruption at Urmston Meadows and even led to fears the excavation may have damaged an embankment to the River Mersey.

The illegal works are also preventing walkers, horse riders and cyclists and at present creating concerns of serious injury if somebody was to fall into it.

Cyclist David McCann, 69, who was prevented from using the footpath said he had complained to the Environment Agency after coming across the trench.

He said: "The trench is a definite hazard and if somebody should be walking that path without realising it was there they could be injured if they fell in."

"I understand that scouts, who were camping nearby on the night in question, thought they heard the sound of a digger operating nearby at around midnight."

On social media, there has been a number of claims in recent weeks that Trafford Council had been planning to restrict access to the footpath on Eeasebrook. One writer suggests the major problems were with youths using the unofficial car park, flytipping and vehicles and motorbikes using old football pitches and pathways.

Urmston councillor Kevin Procter said that not only had the trench been dug but a large boulder had been dropped on a nearby path blocking it

Cllr Procter explained: “ A number of local people have contacted me about this problem, and it is of deep concern to me that someone has taken this action to try to prevent local people from using this area for walking and other leisure activities.

"This part of Urmston meadows is used extensively by many local residents and it is important that we find out who is responsible, and action is taken to return the site to its original state.

"We are continuing to investigate who was responsible for this action but if anyone has any information can they please contact me on 07760 167211 or”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We undertook a second survey on July 18, and have given advice and guidance to the landowner, which in this case is Trafford Council. Following the findings of the survey there is currently no increased flood risk.”

As the Messenger went to press, we were awaiting a response from Trafford Council.