Thanet council to review CCTV and take enforcement action over horrific tide of waste left on Margate sands

The massive amount of litter left behind Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council is reviewing CCTV to identify those responsible for leaving a huge amount of litter on Margate Main Sands at the weekend.

Several coach trip groups visited the town on Saturday (July 27) including a 500 person event, at the Nayland Rock end of the sands.

The mess left behind was shocking and images taken by isle photographer Frank Leppard went viral with a facebook reach of more than one million.

The mountains of rubbish, including bottles, disposable plates and cups,discarded wrappings,buckets and even broken tents, comes just two days after council workers had to clear a similar scene of litter. There was also evidence of black bin bags.

During the clean up council workers removed six gazebos from Margate Main Sands, filled one seven-and-a-half tonne vehicle full of litter and the beach cleaners collected about 75 bags of rubbish. All the bins along the promenade filled a seven-and-a-half tonne waste vehicle twice over and a four-and-a-half tonne mechanical sweeper used along the seafront first thing was also filled up. The tractor used to rake the sand collected a further tonne of rubbish.

It followed a similar tide of rubbish left only a day before.

Thanet council says footage will now been reviewed with the aim of taking enforcement action.

Thanet District Council leader Bob Bayford said: “We love to see people enjoying our beautiful sandy beaches but the mess that was left on Saturday was shocking and heartbreaking to see.

“Our street cleansing teams work incredibly hard, out in the district seven days a week from 6am to 8pm in the summer months. Margate Main Sands was spotless when people arrived on Saturday and was spotless again by 8:30am the next morning.

Clean up staff Photo John Horton

“There were a number of groups on the beach on Saturday and permission had been granted for a 500 person event, at the Nayland Rock end. Despite the provision of commercial bins and bags by the council as well as empty bins on the promenade, there was still a huge volume of litter left on the beach. As a result, we are reviewing CCTV footage to identify those responsible with a view to enforcement action and liaising with the event organiser.

Photo Jackie Chapman

“Anyone who visits our beaches has an obligation to leave the beach as they found it. It’s alarming that despite global awareness of the importance of protecting our natural environment, particularly from plastic waste, we are seeing a total lack of regard from some beach users. Sadly this issue is not unique to Margate and we have recently launched our Beauty of the Beach public education campaign in partnership with the Environment Agency and Southern Water highlighting the devastating impact of dropping litter.

Photo Frank Leppard

“We are asking everyone who uses our beaches to help keep them clean and prevent litter ending up in the sea, causing damage to our natural environment, ocean and planet.

After council staff and some locals tackled the litter Photo John Horton

“Leave nothing but footprints is our message to everyone visiting our beaches this summer. Using the beach responsibly and making the choice to use another bin nearby or taking rubbish home makes a real difference.  There are no excuses for people to abdicate responsibility and leave their litter behind.”

‘Litter vandals’

North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, branded those responsible as “litter vandals” and said the isle needs wardens to issue hefty on the spot fines.

He added: “Most people take their litter home with them but there is an irresponsible minority that believe that they can behave as they wish and expect other people to clear up their trash after them.

“Clearly the council will have to review the provision of rubbish bins adjacent to the entrances to the sands to make sure that the facilities are adequate but at the same time we have to hold the vandals to account.

“If it is possible to issue an on-the-spot fine for dropping a bus ticket in the street then it has to be possible to pay for wardens by issuing hefty immediate penalties for leaving trash on the beach.  Once word gets around that the culprits will have to pay for their disgusting behaviour then I suspect that the practice will stop.

“At the end of the day the only real way to curb litter vandalism is to hit the perpetrators where it hurts most – in the pocket.”