Wildlife has suffered as pandemic restrictions have stopped volunteer rangers from holding their regular litter sessions at the Rivermead nature reserve.
Gordon Shaw discovered a wooden mouse stuck in a beer bottle when he and other group members went to clean the site. The little creature died because it could not crawl out.
Now the volunteers are encouraging visitors to take their rubbish home.
Gordon of Rodbourne said: “With the pandemic, we’ve been pretty much incapable in any litter lately. The river is flooding pretty easily and it’s worrying in the reserve.
“Rubbish has increased, so there are various things, cans and bottles, it’s worrying. We even had sofas and trolls. It’s pretty much work, but it’s worth it. ”
The area is owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and administered by Swindon Borough Council.
With some limitations, the group wants to engage the community so that people are more aware of the danger to wildlife.
“It’s pretty deadly and people don’t realize the effect of leaving a bottle,” Gordon said. “It is almost impossible for the animal to come out again and it is actually hungry or so tense there. They can actually cut their feet by entering as well.
“The fact that the poor little one can’t get out, so it gets trapped and then starves himself or drowns, is awful. Wildlife is delicate and I don’t think the public realizes the impact rubbish can have on it. ”
The group, which is limited to six members, picked up 25 suitcases of rubbish in its session after the blockade eased.
“We are lucky in Swindon to have the green spaces and the local people value it for walking dogs,” he added.
Because hedges were not maintained while the locksmiths people penetrated into an area close to the river that is out of bounds for the public. There they felled branches and made nests.
Gordon applauded their construction skills, but said the vandalism is unfortunate.
“They took the hay and put together some chopped branches. They also chopped down a ladder and took off the backrest, which is frustrating.”
He said the problem is that they do it in the wild area rather than in the public space.