VILLAGERS have been left shell-shocked after what has been claimed to be “hundreds” of youngsters caused chaos in a rural beauty spot.

One Dedham resident described the scenes as akin to a “riot” after fights broke out by the River Stour, made famous by artist John Constable.

The spot, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty, often attracts huge crowds during sunny weather, who line the river with picnics, barbecues and drinks.

But one villager reported seeing a young girl with blood “pouring down her face” at about noon on Friday as tensions rose amid a frenzy of drinking and partying.

Another, who lives in Dedham High Street, reported drug paraphernalia, glass bottles and condoms could be seen strewn across the idyllic grass following the crowd’s departure.

Gazette: Dumped - rubbish previously left in Dedham Picture: Kate PrestidgeDumped - rubbish previously left in Dedham Picture: Kate Prestidge

The eye witness said: “It was absolutely appalling and there were talks of people fighting by the river and masses of cannabis.

“They were intimidating everybody as they walked en masse through the village. They left rubbish in the bushes and peed everywhere.

“It’s just awful, none of us locals go down to the river anymore because it upsets us so much how trashed it gets and how people behave there.

“We’re all really sad as you used to be able to take your grandchildren and children there but you can’t anymore because it’s overrun and not safe.”

It was reported to the Gazette police cars were in attendance dealing with incidents throughout the day, although neither Essex Police or Suffolk Police could confirm this.

Gazette: Police - a previous police patrol in DedhamPolice - a previous police patrol in Dedham

Rural North councillor Darius Laws said he and his colleagues are aware of issues taking place in the spot off Dedham Road, but insisted action will take time.

He said: “When younger people get together and it becomes a carnival atmosphere things can go wrong.

“Colchester and Babergh councils are hoping to jointly fund more rangers to patrol the site which would be great for proactive action to take place.

“We don’t want to spoil people having fun but equally we don’t want those not involved to have their days ruined by people behaving in a silly manner.”