Council workers at Swindon’s tip were sworn at and even spat at over the weekend according to the local authority.

The household waste recycling centre is open as normal at the moment, but Swindon Borough Council says the Waterside Park facility should only be used for essential recycling. It hopes to keep the crowds down at the centre during the coronavirus pandemic.

But it was very busy on Saturday and Sunday, and a Facebook post says if bad behaviour by users continues, the centre could be closed.

It said: “We’re sad to report that some of our staff were spat and sworn at over the weekend.

"This behaviour isn’t acceptable at anytime, not least in the current circumstances.

"The centre currently is open for essential visits only, but we are keeping this under close review.

"Essential waste is not items like fences, mattresses, construction waste, furniture, DIY, plasterboard, green waste.”

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “Tensions are understandably high at the moment, but that does not mean people can come down to the Household Waste Recycling Centre and abuse our staff. It simply isn’t on.

“Spitting and shouting abuse at staff who are doing their absolute best to keep services running for local residents is abhorrent and we won’t stand for it. You should treat others as you hope to be treated yourself.

“The recycling centre is always busy at this time of year, but we ask that anyone tempted to do their annual spring clean puts it off for a few months to reduce the number of people visiting the site.

“We only want people to come to the centre if it is absolutely necessary. If too many people visit we will have no option but to close the site as we will be unable to safely employ the Government’s social distancing advice and keep everyone safe.”

On the council’s Facebook page Paul Lou Scriver  wrote: “Just close it” and that was echoed by Lisa Skeates who said: “I agree. As long as bin collections continue, everything else can wait. This isn't an extended bank holiday.”

But Mike Cummings  responded to Mr Scriver’s comment: “ Not a good idea as the scumbags will only flytip, which will make everyone's life a misery. No matter what job a person does they should never be subjected to this sort of abuse, high time something was done about it.

Karma Wall wanted to extend her gratitude to the recycling centre’s staff: “That’s atrocious, they are always so helpful , keep everything flowing and have the patience of saints, with me especially. 
Please pass on our thanks to the staff , from the majority of Swindon.”

The council is asking people to check the recycling centre’s webcam at before setting off in order to avoid crowds.

Th centre’s opening hours are 8am to 4pm every day except Wednesday, when it is closed.

Normally those hours would be extended on April 1.