VOLUNTEERS cleaned up when they answered a call to help tidy up Seaton Carew beach as part of a national campaign.
Members of the public joined local Marks and Spencer workers for the fourth annual Big Beach Clean-up.
Sackfuls of rubbish were cleared from the sands to make it a safer place for marine life and keep it attractive for visitors.
Helpers scooped up bagfuls of litter during the event which was supported by the Marine Conservation Society.
The Seaton clean-up was one of many held around the UK’s coastline this spring.
Their results will be fed into a national survey to help protect the environment.
Andrea Maxwell, store manager at Marks & Spencer in Hartlepool said: “Seaton Carew Beach is a location which is treasured by both locals and tourists so it’s important that we all do our bit to help keep it rubbish-free.”
The clean-up also formed part of Marks & Spencer’s Forever Fish campaign which reduces usage of plastic carrier bags and has raised over £8 million for good causes.
Since the first M&S Big Beach Clean-up in 2012, over 20,000 people have taken part and 62.5 tonnes of litter has been cleared from the country’s beaches and canals.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says the public, businesses and government all have a role to play in keeping our beaches clean.
Data shows there has been a steady increase in beach litter over the last 20 years.
As well as being unsightly for visitors, it can have devastating effects on wildlife which can become entangled in netting, or starve as a result of eating plastic and other rubbish.
A Marine Conservation Society spokesman said: “Fifty years ago, beach litter hardly existed. Today it’s a serious environmental concern. We created this problem and the solution is in our hands.
“Clean beaches will save the lives of some of our best loved marine wildlife. It’ll protect our kids building sand castles.”