THOUGHTLESS visitors to one of Oldham’s favourite beauty spots ravaged by devastating fires are still flouting a ban on barbecues.

The Oldham Times, backed by frustrated locals, has kept watch on Dovestone Reservior at Greenfield and discovered a trail of potential fire hazards left by careless day trippers.

In one case, a hearth had been made out of stones and remains of a charcoal fire were left near the shoreline at the sailing club headquarters.

And we have evidence of up to 30 people pitching a tent in sight of a fire engine and setting up four barbecues.

A local who took the pictures said: “I couldn’t believe they’d just set up camp here. It’s unreal.”

However, police and locals say since the arrival of the Dovestone marshals the number of barbecues at the picturesque site has reduced, helped by shops refusing to sell disposable barbecues.

“But,” said one concerned villager, “it’s still unbelievable in the wake of us still recovering from the devastating moorland fires, they still want to set barbecues up here at all.

“Why can’t they do their cooking at home and just come here to enjoy the scenery?”

There are “ no bbq” signs erected by the Peak District National Park, supplemented by hand- written warnings near the Dovestone car park and on a gate leading to a path skirting the reservoir.

Yet on one of my surveys, a group of eight people, carrying a large barbecue, blithely ignored the notices and headed for the moors.

Meanwhile, The Peak District National Park Authority has implemented Operation FireWatch in collaboration with the Moors for the Future Partnership.

Staff from the National Park, partner organisations and volunteers are in place at moorland vantage points throughout the National Park to look out for fires.

Residents and visitors are asked to be extra vigilant to help prevent moorland and grassland fires.

Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “With the hot weather, the risk of further fires is a real concern.

“We have put fire risk warning notices at moorland access points to remind everyone of the dangers but we need people enjoying the moors to observe a few basic rules.

“Leave your barbecues and fire-pits at home. Don’t drop cigarette ends or matches. Take glass bottles and litter home with you. Don’t light fires or barbecues on or near moorland. Report fires immediately to the fire service by phoning 999.”