A man was spotted squatting down in broad daylight and pooing in the middle of the street in a "zombie town".
Police were called to the scene after the 52-year-old emptied his bowels in Market Lane, Hanley.
The suspect, from Stoke-on-Trent, was arrested on suspicion of outraging public decency but no further action was taken.
The arrest came as police and the city council started a crackdown on intimidating drunks, druggies and beggars in recent weeks.
Locals have recently described Hanley as like the "land of the living dead" and a "zombie town", StokeonTrentLive reports.
Pauline Couchene said: "They need to get rid of the beggars, druggies and alcoholics and then it will be a better town."
Shatron Walker added: "They're putting loads of money into improving buildings and recreation in Hanley but no extra money or policing in the area.
"No-one wants to go to Hanley due to the druggies and drunks. It’s a joke. Kids are being offered drugs in Hanley and it’s safer in other cities currently."
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "We were called at 2.55pm on October 9 to reports of a man defecating on Market Lane in Hanley.
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"A 52-year-old man, from Stoke-on-Trent, was arrested on suspicion of outraging public decency. He was released with no further action."
Hanley dates back to 1212 and has long been the commercial hub of the city of Stoke-on-Trent after being incorporated as a municipal borough.
It is home to the Potteries Shopping Centre and many high street chain stores.
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