River dwellers at Teddington Lock have hit back at claims they litter the riverbank.

Last week, a river user contacted this newspaper to say the houseboat owners leave rusty rubbish and excrement along the riverbank, and likened the area to a "floating shanty town".

Miranda Gray, an IT analyst and writer who has lived at the spot for a year, said the photographs used in last week’s newspaper were not indicative of the general state of the riverbank, and sent in her own efforts.

Ms Gray said: "They have used old shots. One of the items shown, the abandoned scooter, was dumped in the river last year by someone not from the boating community and it was left to us to notify the police for its removal.

"Thanks to our efforts, the towpath is a lot cleaner now, as our photographs show."

She added: "I reiterate that the majority of the boats on this stretch of riverbank make efforts to keep the area tidy.

"Saying that we are all causing a problem is like demanding the occupants of an entire street of houses should all move because a couple of households are making a mess."

Ms Gray said she and fellow river dwellers cleaned up after their dogs and said it was "simply ludicrous" to leave human excrement around.

She continued: "To those who accuse us of mooring illegally, I would again respond by pointing out that we are moored on public land where there is currently no law against mooring there."