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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Woman's battle to save Carlisle beauty spot from litter louts

Broken glass, empty beer cans, disposable nappies and drug debris are littering a Carlisle beauty spot.

Heather Murray photo
Heather Murray collects rubbish at Holmehead Bay, Denton Holme

Residents have complained about the amount of litter left on the banks of the River Caldew which runs through Denton Holme.

Heather Murray, a 50-year-old from Coogan Close who walks her two dogs there on a daily basis, became so fed up with the piles of rubbish that she decided to do something about it.

She has started a one-woman campaign to help keep the area clean – and on some days manages to collect enough waste to fill five bin bags.

Mrs Murray said the situation had got steadily worse as the temperatures had risen and items she had picked up included – disposable barbecues, empty methadone bottles, and even a hypodermic needle still in its protective wrapper.

She said: “A dog ate something and had to be taken to the vets. They think it might have been cannabis.

“I go down there before I go to work and there are broken bottles. It’s not just the children causing the mess, it is the adults too who are dumping the rubbish. We fished two bikes out of the river.”

She said she had contacted both Carlisle City Council and the Environment Agency, but so far no action had been taken. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she said.

Fifty-one-year-old Mike Simpson, from Percy Road, said people should take their rubbish home with them. “It keeps the area clean and tidy for everyone else,” he added.

Zoe Grierson, 22, from Collingwood Street, said she put all her rubbish into a plastic bag to take away with her. She added: “It’s where people bring their children and it’s not a nice thing to see – especially dirty nappies.”

Jack Smith, 78, of Dunmail Drive, regularly visits the area and said the litter was worse at the weekends.

He added: “If you see someone dropping rubbish you should really tell them to stop – but you don’t know what sort of response you will get.”

His wife Muriel, who is also 78, said she thought it was “disgusting” and added: “Of course people should take their litter home with them. I wouldn’t drop rubbish.”

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said one of its teams would inspect the area within the next week to see what could be done.

Elsie Martlew, the city councillor responsible for the environment, said she had received a number of complaints about litter problems across the city during the recent hot spell.

She said: “Our Green Spaces Teams do their bit but people have a responsibility to clean up after themselves.”

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