A phantom pooper is being hunted in Bolton, Vermont, USA, but only because the authorities want to give them some money.
For the past few months, someone has been dumping bin-bags full of human excrement in a picturesque woodland near the Winooski River.
The problem was first noticed in May, when volunteers from The Green Mountain Club – a non-profit organisation that maintains Vermont’s historic Long Trail – found a large quantity of bin-bags that appeared to have been thrown from a car driving along a nearby road.
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When the clean-up volunteers opened the bags, they got a stinky surprise – over 400lb of faeces and toilet paper.
Some of the bags had been torn open by local wildlife, and there was poo spread throughout the woods and into nearby properties, local news station WCAX reports.
Although a team of volunteers cleaned up the disgusting mess, the story wasn’t over, as the phantom pooper has returned again and again throughout the summer, leaving bag after bag of filthy mess.
The locals aren’t impressed, with Mark Stater telling reporters: “This should be everyone’s space. It’s not too complicated to come out fish and hike or camp and then leave without leaving stuff in the bushes and in the trees.”
But while the local authorities are trying to track down the mystery poo summer, they don’t plan to punish them.
They say the most likely explanation for someone dumping such a huge amount of poo in the woods is that they live in a property with a faulty septic tank.
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A new one could set you back as much as $40,000 (£35,000), but there are various local government schemes offering support for people who can’t afford to replace or repair their septic tanks.
“Our goal is to help get the system fixed and make sure that people have a safe clean environment to live in,” said Megan Cousino with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
Over a thousand people in the state are currently receiving help from the scheme, but Ms Cousino accepts that the application form can be challenging for some.
“The regulatory landscape can be difficult to navigate sometimes,” she added. “Access to resources aren’t always equal and then the cost can be pretty costly depending on what’s needed”.
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