THE days of free camping near Newcastle’s Horseshoe Beach may be numbered with moves made on Friday to ban overnight stays. Newcastle City Council moved quickly on Friday after the Herald revealed the extent of rubbish and human excrement strewn through the small area of bushland at Camp Shortland near the beach’s car park. The area is a legal camping area for travellers staying in vehicles and has attracted hundreds of tourists over the Christmas period. The council announced an immediate doubling of garbage collections in the area and confirmed it was now working with the state departments that own the land to implement camping restrictions. &nbsp;Such a ban would prevent travellers from parking or camping in the area between 11pm and 5am. The council also sent rangers to the site yesterday who handed out flyers to campers. The information included the locations of nearby public toilet and amenity blocks, warned of on-the-spot fines for littering and promised more frequent ranger patrols at night. Almost 1500 people voted in the Herald’s online poll, with more than 86 per cent saying it was time the council banned camping in the vicinity of Horseshoe Beach.&nbsp; Readers also took to social media, wrote letters, and while many acknowledged the problem had not been created by the majority, destruction of the site had got out of hand. Sebastiano Leo, a visitor from Germany who was staying at Horseshoe yesterday, said he’d be disappointed if a ban was implemented, and campers weren’t entirely to blame. ‘‘We saw a lot of locals staying for a couple of hours with their McDonald’s and littering,’’ he said. ‘‘There are some Australian guys living in the bush.’’ Another German camper, Henni Hellwig, said: ‘‘We only came yesterday. We haven’t littered or anything, we want to keep the place clean. At night the toilets (at Nobbys surf club) are closed and you have to walk all the way to the (train) station to go to the toilet.’’ Another camper, who identified himself only as Darren, said he’d been freely staying at Horseshoe for three months but blamed the council for the build-up of rubbish in the area and the lack of public toilets for people using nearby parkland as an open-air loo. EARLIER REPORT BY JASON GORDON: SECTIONS of Newcastle’s Horseshoe beach have been turned into a faeces- and rubbish-ridden hovel by campers, but rangers are powerless to move them on. About 20 campervans and station wagons, all clearly occupied by travellers, are now parked on the eastern side of the beach’s car park in Camp Shortland. The adjoining bushland, recently regenerated by Landcare and fenced off, is littered with human excrement and toilet paper. Overnight, tents have been illegally erected on top of young vegetation in some areas while nearby bins are overflowing with rubbish. Regular users of the beach, which is a popular off-leash area for dogs, are riled by its state and angry that the campers can stay freely and legally in the area so long as they’re in their vehicles. Lucy Doling, from Cooks Hill, regularly exercises her dog, Cookie, at the beach but said yesterday that the site had become ‘‘a disgusting shanty town of hippies who can’t even be bothered walking over to the public toilets at Nobbys [surf club]’’. ‘‘I’ve just seen the police drive through here and they did nothing,’’ she said.&nbsp; ‘‘I can’t believe that these campers haven’t been moved on.’’ Another city resident, who asked not to be named and who walks along the foreshore every morning, said some of the vans &nbsp;had &nbsp;been parked there for weeks. ‘‘The [faeces] and toilet paper is everywhere through the bush and stinks like hell. It’s even in the trees and hanging off the fence wire,’’ she said.&nbsp; ‘‘At least the people with dogs on the beach clean up after their animals, but this lot can’t clean up after themselves.’’ Of the campers approached by the Newcastle Herald, only one young couple would comment, but wouldn’t identify themselves. Travelling from Victoria, they said they had camped in the back of their station wagon at Horseshoe for two nights ‘‘because it was a beautiful spot’’. They agreed that the nearby bushland ‘‘was pretty rank’’ but said they were using the toilets and showers at Nobbys surf club. Newcastle City Council’s compliance services co-ordinator Ndabezinhle Mothobi said the ‘‘unusual build-up of litter and waste had been caused by the seasonal attraction of campers in vehicles to the area’’, but conceded that such camping at the location was not illegal. Pitching tents and using the grounds as an open-air public toilet, however, is illegal and was obviously occurring. ‘‘It’s quite disappointing what some people will leave behind to become someone else’s problem and this, sadly, has included human waste,’’ Mr Mothobi said. Late yesterday, the council said that it may have to ‘‘review arrangements around the use of this area, including prohibiting camping or limiting vehicle parking’’.