A DARLINGTON photographer has captured a "frustrating" scene seen by many in the borough over the past few months.

Christopher Donaldson spotted a disposable mask on the floor outside of a shop in Cockerton, just metres away from a rubbish bin.

The man's picture captures a new type of litter – single-use face masks with an associated coronavirus risk.

Green Party councillor Bryony Holroyd, who runs litter picks in College ward, says shops have become hotspot for abandoned masks.

She said: "Clearly people have driven to a store, put on a disposable mask and gloves to go in, then taken them off after and dropped them on the floor before driving off."

Ms Holroyd advocates for reusable face masks and greater education around minimising waste, and says shops should be proactive in helping customers dispose of masks properly.

Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Council cabinet member for local services, said: "While discarded masks and gloves haven’t proved to be a big issue in recent litter picks, we would urge people to dispose of them responsibly and, if possible, use reusable masks.

“We are working with our volunteer Street Champions, who already have their own equipment, to ensure they are given full health and safety advice before embarking on a litter pick.

“We’re encouraging people to stick to bubbles of six people and remain 2m apart while working together.”