A young volunteer was subjected to abuse as he tried to clean up a Hartlepool park.
The Friends of Rossmere group was in the park over the bank holiday weekend to take part in a cleaning of the pond.
However, when one of the teenage volunteers was trying to clean a toilet block he was subjected to abuse by a gang of youths.
Stephen Taylor, chairman of Friends of Rossmere, said: “Sadly, while we there antisocial behaviour raised it head again. A gang of youths 15 to 19, including a female, appeared and laid siege to the toilet block threatening to beat him, some of the bullies were twice his size.”
He said the situation was so upsetting for the young volunteer that the police were called, but the gang ran off.
Undeterred the young lad and the group continued with the clean-up.
This was the third time the group has cleaned out the pond and volunteers were helped by magnet fishers, who regularly go to the pond, and a former council worker, who used to clean the pond in waders, volunteered to reprise his role.
Stephen said: “We got the metal taken away, including numerous scaffolding poles and poles up to 80mm diameter, bikes, scooters and a shopping trolley.”
He said they also recovered several bags of filth, plastic, tyres and a lawnmower.
Despite Hartlepool Borough Council putting up signs saying not to feed bread to the wildfowl, Stephen said the public ignores this, so members of the group gave out bird feed, which had been donated by bird fancier and new councillor, Tony Richardson.
Stephen said: “It was a long day during which we witnessed some anti-social behaviour, like a 15-year-old boy standing on the toilet roof urinating in full view of the public, including my own little girl.”
But, at the end of the clean-up one of the volunteers, Iain Mindwraith, put on an impromptu magic and balloon show for all the visitors in the park who were enjoying the sunny bank holiday weekend weather.
Stephen said: “Everyone really, really loved it.”
The group will be hosting a litter pick and picnic in Rossmere Park on Thursday, May 10, picnic at 6pm and litter pick at 7pm, for anyone who wants to join in.
On Saturday, May 12,it will be taking part in the Great British Plastic Pick from 10am to 4pm and anyone who wants to helpshould meet behind Vicky’s Cafe.