MORE than 150 volunteers took to a Hartlepool beach and collected over 300 bags of rubbish.
Hartlepool North Sands Action Group took to the beach in the area of West View and the Headland to clear it of litter and flytipping.
Organiser Shaun Houghton-Birrell said the green gang helped to clear away more than 300 bags of rubbish, as well as a fridge freezer, a two-seater sofa, a shopping trolley, a suitcase, and two hypodermic needles.
Shaun said: “I’ve surfed at the Headland since I was 16 or 17 years old so I’ve spent a lot of time in and around the beach.
“Over a period of time I’ve noticed the rubbish more and more and it just got to a point where it needed some action.
“Last April the group was set up, but this was the first clean that we’ve done, on March 28 at 1pm. It was surprisingly good!
There will always be rubbish, and there’s probably some there now, but just leaving it is not an option.Shaun Houghton-Birrell, of Hartlepool North Sands Action Group
“We had everyone from kids up to pensioners turn out to help and it was great. I think everyone enjoyed it.”
The 42-year-old, of Perecy Street, Hartlepool, who organised the event with his wife Sarah Houghton-Birrell, added: “It’s very important to get the message across that plastic bottles for example last in the environment for 1,000 years and can kill a range of animals.
“People can try to blame the council and other organisations, but it’s just the way of the world and we decided to do something about it and clean it up.
“There will always be rubbish, and there’s probably some there now, but just leaving it is not an option.
“It was really rewarding and I wasn’t expecting even a third of the people to turn up on the day. It shows a lot of people do care and there is hope for the future.”
Hartlepool Borough Council provided a tractor to shift the larger items.
Further beach cleans are being planned, and the group is this time thinking about taking in the Block Sands and the Fish Sands at the Headland.