Notices banning people from using Hertfordshire's rural paths to stop the spread of foot and mouth disease have been torn down.

Hertfordshire County Council said it was annoyed that some notices had been taken down and that some people, including dog-walkers, were continuing to use footpaths.

The council put up notices banning access to rural footpaths, bridleways and common land, earlier this month, in a bid to protect the county's farms from the disease. People ignoring the notices face fines of up to £5,000.

Council environment executive member Iris Tarry said: "We had hoped that such a serious situation would bring out people's sense of responsibility, but it seems that some are prepared to put livestock, livelihoods and the rural economy at risk, purely to suit their own convenience.

"We do not know whether some people are trying to make a point, but whatever their motives, removing the notices does not remove the risk to livestock, or the risk of prosecution for anyone ignoring the ban."

The ban applies to all public rights of way, except Tarmac routes, and common land.

Notices have been placed on 5,000 public paths in the county and Aldenham Country Park remains closed.