Litter pickers risking their lives to keep villages clean and tidy

Colgate litter picker's anger at motorists who keep dumping rubbish as they pass through the village. Parish Councillors Steve Garley, John Sired, Sheila Marley - chairman, Brian Paige. Pic Steve Robards SR1818279 SUS-181007-144042001
Colgate litter picker's anger at motorists who keep dumping rubbish as they pass through the village. Parish Councillors Steve Garley, John Sired, Sheila Marley - chairman, Brian Paige. Pic Steve Robards SR1818279 SUS-181007-144042001

Outraged litter pickers say they are putting their lives at risk as they attempt to keep their villages clean and tidy.

Brian Paige and Steve Garley are tasked with cleaning the streets around Colgate and Faygate.

The pair fill up multiple bags with rubbish each week coming across a range of discarded items such as alcohol bottles, cans, fast food bags and even a toilet.

Brian, who has been collecting rubbish in the area for two years, says most of the rubbish is dumped by drivers travelling through the area, particularly along Tower Road.

It takes him around two hours each week to clean up the road and he has released a desperate plea to motorists to stop dumping rubbish along the busy stretch after being involved in several near misses with vehicles.

He explained: “My biggest concern is don’t get run over. One day there were two vehicles coming down the hill one behind the other. The first one missed me and the second one missed me, just.

“We do our best to keep the village looking nice. It’s not people in the village it’s people passing through because it’s a cut through to get to the big roads.”

Steve, who is also a Colgate Parish Councillor, has been collecting litter in the area since October.

He said the first time he went out, Tower Road was a ‘disaster’ with large amounts of fly tipping dumped along the side of the road as well as several bottles along ‘vodka alley’.

He said: “The bottom of Tower Hill is also distressingly grubby. The left hand side (going downhill) is known as vodka alley.

“In four months I have gathered around 30 rubble bags of rubbish - it’s quite depressing.”

But it’s not just Tower Road where the pair are collecting bags of rubbish.

Steve said he has found multiple drink and sweet wrappers outside Colgate School as well as wine glasses, bottles and already tied bags full of rubbish in Forest Road.