Anger over mess left on beaches

Some of the rubbish collected on Cullercoats beach. Picture by Mick Englsih
Some of the rubbish collected on Cullercoats beach. Picture by Mick Englsih

Residents are calling for a crackdown on litter louts and anti-social behaviour after complaints that beaches were trashed during the mini heatwave last week.

At Cullercoats Bay, Mick English took pictures of piles of debris – including broken glass – before clearing up some of the mess himself.

Broken bottles at Cullercoats Bay. Picture by Mick Englsih

Broken bottles at Cullercoats Bay. Picture by Mick Englsih

The retired firefighter said he and other local residents are fed up with anti-social behaviour and want Northumbria Police and North Tyneside Council to enforce rules designed to stop people drinking alcohol in public spaces.

He added: “The sand and ramp was littered with broken bottles, posing a serious risk to people and animals.

“This is a growing problem around Cullercoats Bay, particularly when the sun comes out. Groups of youths arrive carrying cases of beer and other alcohol, which they openly drink on the beach.”

Rachael Kerr is a supporter of the Plastic Free Coastline campaign led by Surfers Against Sewage and has organised local beach cleans.

She said: “Tynemouth Longsands was covered in bottles, cans, and food cartons when the crowds left and a lot of people are very upset at what happened.

“Of course, visitors to the coast are welcome and it’s great to see people enjoying themselves. Most behave responsibly and, if the bins are full, take their litter home.

“But clearly far too many do not and the beach was left in a disgraceful state.

“The council needs to send a strong message that offenders face penalties.

“I’ve asked for more wardens to enforce the law. If people see patrols they are less likely to behave badly.”

On Saturday, there will be a short community rally outside the Cullercoats RNLI station from 10am.

Members of the public are invited to come along and the organisers say that council and police representatives are also being invited.

In anticipation of the increased visitors to the coast, due to the good weather forecast, North Tyneside Council brought in additional cleansing teams from Friday until Sunday, who worked through until the evening.

This was in addition to its usual street cleansing mechanical sweepers and dedicated seafront team, who carry out litter picking and litter bin emptying along the coast.

Phil Scott, head of environment, housing, and leisure at the local authority, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people enjoyed our award-winning coastline during the unusually hot weather experienced last week.

“However, like residents, we were hugely disappointed to learn that a minority of people disrupted the enjoyment of others.

“Millions of pounds are being invested into the regeneration of our coastline to make sure it remains a top visitor attraction for all to enjoy.

“We will always support the police in tackling anti-social behaviour and please be assured that reports of environmental issues, such as littering and dog fouling, are always taken seriously.”

Inspector Michelle Caisley, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was the first spell of warm weather we’ve had all year and thousands of people were out enjoying the sunshine over the weekend.

“This was always likely to bring with it some issues of anti-social behaviour, especially in our coastal towns, across the force.

“We are working to identify those involved and will take appropriate action against them.

“We have also stepped up patrols in the areas concerned to avoid a repeat of these issues in the future.

“Our message is clear – enjoy the warm weather, but anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with accordingly.

“Extra officers will be deployed to combat such offences when we know the weather is going to be warmer.

“We would like to reassure local residents and businesses that this is not being taken lightly and would encourage members of the public who see such behaviour to tell us, either by stopping an officer on patrol or by giving us a call on 101.”