Margate dad and his sons ditch beach photo plans to clean up litter-strewn sands

Jamie and Lewis also found discarded bats, balls and buckets!

Two young brothers and their dad from Margate who had planned to take beautiful beach pictures on Saturday evening ended up putting away their cameras to litter pick the mountain of rubbish left behind by day trippers instead.

John Horton and his sons Jamie, 13, and Lewis, nine, were so disgusted at the waste strewn across Margate main sands that they set to work clearing up what they could.

Their haul included glass bottles, arm bands, plastic wrapping, metal cutlery, soiled nappies, broken plastic shards, used wet wipes, plastic freeze pop wrappers and other waste.

Photo John Horton

Added to this were 14 plastic seaside buckets which are to be passed on to the Bus Café’s ‘seaside box’ at Nayland, beach balls, footballs and even a pair of Nike trainers.

Former train driver John says the mess appears to have been left by holidaymakers who had been on a coach trip to the town.

He said: “The Pride festivities weren’t responsible for the mess- all of Marine Drive and the sea defence steps were spotless.

“We just cleared the big bits and dangerous stuff, We couldn’t do anymore as we had all our camera equipment and only intended to take photos around the coast, but when we saw the beach that plan was instantly scrapped! If we had planned to do a beach clear up we would’ve taken the right stuff with us but as we didn’t we were limited

“We cleared near the sea area as we didn’t want the stuff swept out by the tide, spoiling the eco system with more pollution.

“I think TDC should find out where they were from and charge their authority for the clean up.”

Jamie and Lewis are now suggesting that the council produces posters showing the mess and asking tourists to clear their rubbish up before they go home.

Hartsdown student Jamie said: “It’s our home and we don’t want to see it in such a state.”

Thanet council says it plans to send a letter of thanks to Jamie and Garlinge pupil Lewis.

Cabinet Member for Operational Services, Councillor Jason Savage (pictured below) said: “Firstly our thanks must go to the young people for their time and effort in clearing the litter left on the beach. They are a credit to themselves and I will be contacting them to offer an opportunity to meet to extend my thanks in person.

“Council staff were out from 7am until 8pm this weekend to collect the tonnes of litter across the district. Thanks to the fabulous weather and variety of events on offer we’re seeing tens of thousands of people using our beautiful beaches and have prepared as far as possible to meet this demand.

“This has included providing larger capacity bins in key locations, taking on additional staff and extending the hours our teams work to keep things as clean as possible.

Photo John Horton

“Our efforts are significantly hampered when beach users fail to use the bins provided, or when they’re full, not seeking out another – which are often close by, or taking their rubbish home.

“Sadly this isn’t something unique to Thanet and we’ve seen many tourist hotspots around the UK blighted with the same inconsiderate behaviour. It’s not acceptable. Anyone caught dropping litter will be fined £80 on the spot. It’s not worth the risk or the potential damage to our coastline and we’ll continue to prioritise our efforts to tackle this issue.”

Do your bit

There are 15 #2minutebeachclean stations placed around the main beaches in Thanet which encourage beach users to spare two minutes to carry out a clean up. Each board includes all the information and equipment you will need – including litter pickers and plastic bags.

The #2minutebeachclean initiative has been running since 2014 and has proved popular around the globe. The initiative was set up to help beach users understand the impact that their actions have on the environment and wildlife. It doesn’t matter how much litter you are able to pick up, every bit can make a difference.

You can find out more about the scheme, including which of Thanet beaches have boards at


  1. Caoches from London…turn out on beach with all their own food n drink leave their crap and back on the bus. Contribute nothing. TDC start charging for coaches..if it stops them coming what have you lost?

    • I’ve seen day trippers descending in droves from the coaches directly onto our pristine Margate main sands, only to drive back later as they’re leaving and see the huge mess deliberately left on the beach with no attempt to bin their rubbish because they’re too busy rushing to get back onto their coach. Whatever happened to the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign and the advice to take your litter home with you if it isn’t possible to bin it?

  2. Mr Mace – you have hit the nail on the head !

    TDC has an Events Policy whereby organised groups have to have to pay for permission for parties on the beach and have to pay for the associated cost of clearing up afterwards. However, TDC does not enforce it’s policy.

    A fortnight ago there was one authorised group on Margate Main sands and eight others that were not authorised. Nothing was done to stop them despite the fact that they were using petrol generators, barbecues, gas cookers, deep fat fryers, microwaves, kettles, etc. and each one was running it’s own disco.

    On the more recent Saturday relating to this article there were again a number of unauthorised groups on Margate Main Sands running petrol generators, barbecues, cookers, disco’s, etc. I have all the evidential photographs which I will send to the Isle of Thanet News. (I have previously sent them to TDC).

    The Beach Inspector is supposed to make hourly announcements to advise beach users that barbecues are not permitted until after 6pm and that all rubbish is to be place in the bins on the promenade. The Beach Inspector is also supposed to patrol the beach and hand out black rubbish sacks to all family groups and parties that are accumulating rubbish.

    I wonder how many black sacks were handed out on Margate Main Sands on Saturday ?

    I wonder how many litter fines were issued on Margate Main Sands on Saturday ?

    • I was driving past Margate beach and the volume of music from one of the large groups sound systems was excessive to say the least. It is selfish to presume that the whole of the beach and promenade want to listen to music. Some people come to listen to the waves and the seagulls.

  3. There should not be problems like this on our beaches if the Council would get it right instead of making excuses not to perform. This continues week after week all through the summer holidays when coach loads of Londoners arrive and just treat the beach like their own premises. The selfish attitudes of these groups arriving in Thanet include parties with blaring music and all the food and drink you could ever need scattered over our beaches. When it’s time to go home everything gets left on the beach. What if we all went and partied in their gardens then left all our rubbish behind, you wouldn’t hear the end of it, we would be chased off! We could do that too I suppose but we are better than that and are proud to show our lovely beaches off to trippers. The only way to combat this lack of consideration is to have someone responsible (Enforcement Officers) there to surcharge the coach organisers as they arrive, and or fine the families and groups as they walk off leaving their rubbish behind. Posters warning officers are on duty are a good idea, CCTV could also be used to catch culprits in the act too.
    Parking Wardens also need to be on duty around the seafront at weekends to catch all the illegally parked vehicles clogging up pavements, double yellow lines and bus stops. The fines income from all this would offset the outlay. Why can’t these cabinet officers understand simple common sense like this. It happens every Summer but nothing proactive is done to alleviate it. That’s TDC for you, they won’t listen !

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