Workers from Scottish Water were surprised when they discovered that a blockage down a manhole was caused by a child’s plastic rocking horse which had been dumped down the drain with other household items. A dining chair, children’s scooter, wood panelling, a football and a cricket bat were among the other unwanted items also found lodged in the underground pipe at Milnafua in Alness, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland.
The workers had to carry out an urgent clear-up last week and worked for 12 hours, digging two metres down to shift the bizarre debris which has been linked to fly-tipping.
Utility bosses have now issued a reminder to the public to dispose of waste responsibly to help save time, public cash and the environment.
They also want to hear from any one who may have information about who was responsible for the incident.
Garry Kirkwood, Scottish Water’s customer manager for sewer response, said: "It looks like someone has looked to use this manhole as some kind of tip.
"Some may see comedy about this incident but there is an underlying serious matter - sewers are not a dumping ground for household refuse or unwanted items.
Blocked sewers cause serious problems to the network such as floods that affects homes, businesses and roads as well as the cost of having to get crews out to clear the blockages.
To have a crew of five to be tied up for 12 hours on this urgent clear-up job also means that other repair incidents had to be delayed."
Other items removed from the manhole included a sandcastle mould, a paint pot and a rubble carrier.
Workers, who half-filled a tipper van with the junk, also recovered dozens of drinks containers, wood panelling, plastic bags and a 10-gallon rubble bucket.
The Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 makes it an offence to interfere with the free flow of the sewers.
It is thought the dumper in Alness is someone who regularly passes through and Mr Kirkwood appealed to locals for information.
He said: "There are a number of ways people can easily dispose of their household waste safely and legally – and putting stuff down a manhole is not one of them.
We would also appeal for any information on who may have been responsible for this incident in Alness."