Sea coalers can collect again after workers allowed back onto Seaton Carew’s beach

Hartlepool Sea Coalers, who had been stopped from taking their vehicles onto the beaches until the gates were opened again last night.
Hartlepool Sea Coalers, who had been stopped from taking their vehicles onto the beaches until the gates were opened again last night.

SEA coal collectors have been back on the sands after they were allowed access following pressure from campaigners.

Workers who gather the coal from Seaton Carew beach have recently been blocked from taking their vehicles onto the sand by Hartlepool Borough Council.

It’s fantastic, all the lads were back last night working.

Gary Jackson

Now they have been allowed back on to the stretch after three gates were opened last night and have quickly returned to graft.

The decision to restrict access was made after Hartlepool Borough Council said it was looking to amend its lease with The Crown Estate, which owns the beach, to allow vehicle access, leaving sea coalers up in arms because they could not make a living.

Gary Jackson, from Foggy Furze, called for the council to rethink locking the gates, as his family worked in the industry.

The 26-year-old who runs Casazone health and safety training company, said: “We know the council is speaking to the Crown Estate to get the licences set up and get it all down on paper.

“It’s fantastic, all the lads were back last night working, there’s about 15 or 20 of them.

“They think it’s brilliant.”

Senior council officers agreed to chase up the Crown Estate’s agents and said sea coalers would be allowed back on the beach as soon as they received confirmation.

Action was sparked after independent Seaton councillor Paul Thompson and supported by fellow councillors at Thursday night’s full council meeting.

Coun Thompson said the beach had been covered in an inch and a half of coal dust and workers had been left struggling to earn a living.

A petition launched by Mr Jackson attracted around 300 names of people adding their voice to the calls to reopen the gates.