A group of volunteers are cleaning up - making the beaches of Hartlepool better for wildlife.
For more than a year the Seal Sands Beach Cleans have been operating once a month to improve the coastline.
The group is gaining in numbers and recognition and believes during its time around five ton of rubbish has been removed.
Craig Boumphrey, one of the organisers of Seal Sands Beach Cleans, which take place on the second Sunday of each month, said: “We have been active for over a year now, with numbers increasing every clean.”
Craig, along with fellow organisers, Chris Mountain and David Wilson, are members of both the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and Sea Shepherd UK.
Both of these organisations are actively working to clean up the UK’s oceans and are involved in rescuing sick and injured marine life.
The huge amount of debris is a serious problemCraig Boumphrey
He said the Hartlepool area is of significant importance due to the amount of wildlife.
Craig said: “We have resident seals and gulls in the immediate area as well as dolphins and whales transiting along the coast. The huge amount of debris is a serious problem for these.
“Over one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution each year and 300,000 thousand dolphins and porpoises die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items.”
The Seal Sands Beach Cleans group has gained recognition and support from residents in the town and councillors.
Craig said: “Due to our commitment and dedication councillors have kindly funded brand new equipment to help our group move forward and carry on the great work.
“Over the year we estimate to have removed nearly five tonnes of marine debris and rubbish from primarily North Gare (Blue Lagoon) but also Seaton Carew.
“This is a mixture of smashed up lobster pots, portaloo doors, tyres, fishing nets and line and an upsetting amount of plastic.
“We have also had a large amount of balloon debris from balloon releases. The rubbish is then taken by the council for disposal.”
In the future the group plans to start segregating plastic bottles so they can be taken separately for recycling.
The group would welcome more volunteers to join them and anyone interested should visit the facebook page Seal Sands Beach Cleans.