Council worker faces losing battle in attempt to clear litter from Margate Main Sands

Endless task Photo Frank Leppard

A lone Thanet council cleaner is caught on camera battling against a tide of waste on Margate sands yesterday (June 12) as beach-goers dropped litter just yards from where he stood.

In baking conditions the worker cleaned, and re-cleaned, the main sands as some careless visitors simply dropped their trash where they stood.

Photo Frank Leppard

It was the same story along the coast with reports the shelter on Princes Walk, Palm Bay was the site of a party last night with revellers leaving behind their trash for someone else to clear up.

TDC enforcement have been notified and are dealing with the situation.

Mess left by the Lido prompted furious resident Tina Raven to share a poster showing the litter. An indication has been made  of a person responsible for the party but this is unsubstantiated and has been denied.

At Botany Bay there were also reports of rubbish, an evening bonfire and several overnight campers. One resident cleared barbecues, bottles and plastic waste from the bay at 8pm yesterday.

One visitor to Botany Bay was also caught on camera urinating in public.

Photo via Friends of Botany Bay

Disgusted residents have questioned where enforcement officers where and say new ‘PSPO’ powers brought in by Thanet council on April 1 to tackle anti-social behaviour across Thanet are proving toothless.

However, there were police officers evident in Margate yesterday with a number of stop and searches understood to have taken place.

Ironically, yesterday a PSPO awareness day was being held with Environmental enforcement officers from the council alongside representatives from Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service at Westbrook beach (3pm – 5pm) and Stone Bay beach (7pm-9pm).

A council post about the event says: “The PSPO awareness day aims to help people understand what they can and can’t do on the beach, and why it is important to follow the rules. There’ll also be a chance for people to get involved with a community litter pick.”

The Beaches and Coast Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) includes the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). Under the new order, council and police officers can now issue the fines of £100 to help deter and reduce anti-social behaviour.

Thanet council said a dedicated enforcement officer for the coast was being employed but there are also questions over whether one coast enforcement officer is enough.

Earlier in the week Barry Manners, from the Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate, said action rather than advice was needed to make the PSPO effective.

In one morning he cleared five discarded barbecues and human excrement from Botany Bay

He said: “Thanet council need to be enforcing the PSPO not doing it as an advisory. It is now past t time for the council’s softly softly educational advice and they need to start enforcing it.

“Start handing out some fines. I don’t mind barbecues on the beach but because a minority of people do not know how to behave then we all have to suffer. It is either enforcement or just a free for all.”

Extra bins and cleaning teams

Last month Thanet council installed 200 additional summer bins, including 80 new 1,100 litre colourful bins. These bins are emptied twice a day, seven days a week.

Photo TDC
TDC also assigned two mobile litter teams on the Thanet coastline in addition to the static cleaners at Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Joss Bay. Portaloos are in place at Margate and Botany Bay and enforcement officers have an increased foot patrol presence in Broadstairs/Kingsgate area. Covid/beach wardens are also deployed to beaches and promenades.

How Thanet District Council tackles litter

  • TDC provide and empty over 400 litter bins across the district. In the summer months there are an additional 180 bins in busy locations.
  • TDC has a dedicated team of street cleansing staff who work 7 days a week from 6.00am to 8.00pm (6.00pm in the winter) Monday to Friday and 6.00am to 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Additional street cleansing staff are taken on over the summer months.
  • Monthly inspections are carried out to monitor standards.
  • High footfall areas such as town centres are swept daily and our mechanical sweepers are out frequently in all other areas.
  • TDC prioritise reports of increased litter in public areas and aim to deal with these as quickly as possible.

The Beaches and Coast PSPO prohibits:

Parking/driving on the promenades or beaches without permission

Cycling on the promenades between 10am and 6pm from 1 May to 30 September where localised signage requires you to dismount

Bonfires, balloon and sky lantern releases on any council land

BBQ’s on council land apart from on beaches after 6pm

Horse riding on beaches or promenades between 9am and 7pm from 1 May to 30 September (or all year round at Pegwell Bay)

Encampments (including tents, campervans, marquees, yurts etc) on beaches, promenades, clifftops, nearby green spaces, car parks and surrounding areas of the public realm without prior consent of the council,with the exception of sun shades.

The use of personal powered watercraft (including jet skis) in a manner that poses a risk to the safety of people or wildlife

The use of personal powered watercraft(including jet skis) in a manner that has the potential to cause harassment, alarm and distress to any other beach or coast users, or residents

Preaching, lectures, music and entertainment or sporting events unless prior permission has been granted by the council

Urination, defecation, spitting or littering

Drinking alcohol in a public place, after being told not to

Ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or otherwise using drugs or substances reasonably believed to be psychoactive substances

Possessing or releasing any canister containing compressed gas.

Barry Manners, from the Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate, said: “This is all flap and no propeller if there is no enforcement. It almost looks as though the council is trying to keep residents quiet by fobbing us off and hoping that once the summer is over it all goes quiet again.”

New signs detailing the restrictions have been installed along the coastline.

More information about the Public Spaces Protection Orders can be found online.

Thanet’s volunteer litter-picking ‘army’ keeping our beaches, streets and parks clean


  1. Proof that all human are messy and those who target Travellers (who don’t have bins right beside them) are ignoring the human issue around waste.

    • Except even when Councillors give them free bin bags that the rest of society has to pay for, they still dump their rubbish all over Dane Valley, Dane Park, Dreamland etc.

        • Just reality, while you put them on a pedestal the rest of us actually see the mess they make, leave behind when they eventually are unable to play the system any longer, the intimidation of locals-sometimes with threats of physical violence, the door knocking roof cons, the underage kids illegally riding cars & quad bikes around etc. Like I said previously if you love them so much why don’t you take them into your house & garden?

          • If I had a garden and space I would! Everything you are citing happens in settled society too. Continuously maligning specific groups of people engenders hostility. There are plenty of travellers and gypsies who have settled and have to keep quiet about their cultural roots because of prejudice exhibited by people like you.

          • Clare, why don’t you go and knock on their caravan door and tell them to put their waste in the bins provided. I am sure you too will be cased away, probably with a big dog or a feral youth at your ankles.
            Go along to Palm Bay and see the mess they were too lazy to take with them or dispose of correctly. All you who defend their rights to act like that need go along and clean up after them. We have tried a million times to interact but they are not open to non travellers dialogue.

    • We are all not messy me and my family we pick up after ourselves in public spaces even after a picnic and put rubbish in a bin or take it home. It’s just common decency and respect of other people using the same spaces. Please don’t generalize.

    • All humans are certainly not messy, only those who were not brought up to respect others. There must be a way of impressing upon people why it is so important to clear up. Fining doesn’t work so the penalty could be several days of public cleaning whilst wearing jackets to indicate that the people wearing these jackets have not observed public decency themselves. It wouldn’t matter where the person lived, for instance a day visitor would be put to work in their home town which would be a stronger punishment because they would be seen and shamed by the people who know them. It would need administering and interaction between councils but at least it would send out a real message.
      I realise enforcing this would be difficult because people would lie about where they live. So this is where ID is important but, sadly, something those most likely to create a mess are unlikely to agree to. It’s a frustrating circle.
      However if there is a way of making it happen; Work, Name and Shame’ would get the message across far better than a paltry fine and it would get cleaning up done by culprits rather than having to rely upon lone council workers and volunteers.

  2. All humans are messy.

    Well As it is you might be messy but I am not. Lots of countrys around the world are clean Japan to name one.

    It’s just a small percentage of people who live in this country dont give a dam.

    We will get the same people on here blaming TDC for the mess, when in fact it’s the people that are the problem.

    This country is going down hill fast the gap between the haves and have nots grows daily.

    When I was a kid you if you dropped litter the copper gave you a slap and if you told your dad he gave your another slap !.

    Now we all know the police or powerless tied down with to much paperwork. If the police do press charges the court issues such little fines , theres no point the point wasting their time to get someone a 10 quid fine.

    Walk around our streets and we see household waste dumped everywhere. People know the chances of getting
    caught are slim and if the do get caught, the fine still works out cheaper than paying to take it away correctly, if they are fly tipping regularly.

    There is a section of people within England that couldnt careless, expect people beneath than to pick up their mess. Now if when caught the fine was 5k and if they dont pay than goods are taken from them within 7 days, England might be a cleaner place. But that would upset the do-gooders who say they need educating and guidance or its TDC fault. 5k fine is good education !

    Theres no pride in our country or our community’s anymore, its always someone else fault or someone else job to clear up they mess. Sadly

      • Would you walk up to a group of people and issue a fine ?

        I wouldnt risk getting my head kicked in for a 100quid fine. Whilst being paid minimum wage.

        That’s the reality of the job.

        You are approaching people who are in a large group, drunk, stoned and issuing a small fine.

  3. Same old – same old . . . it happens every year particularly at Margate.

    There are three security guards strolling up and down Marine Terrace but none of them are looking at the beach and certainly not going onto the sand and telling people to clear up their mess.

    Similarly, the beach inspector sits in a chair all day and does nothing about the mess. He is supposed to make announcements every hour telling visitors to put their rubbish in the bins on the prom. He is also supposed to patrol the beach and hand out rubbish sacks to visitors – but he just does not bother.

    We are paying these people to prevent this happening but as usual nobody is doing anything about it – other than the one beach cleaner – who has my greatest sympathy that he is being so badly let down by his colleagues.

  4. Nice to see with Covid rates rising exponentially again that people aren’t bothering to social distance during the hot weather. We already know most people are lowlifes-they might virtue signal about climate change & damage to wildlife, the seas etc-but in reality they litter all the time.

    As for urinating in public-are there any toilets open? TDC’s motto has long been to save money by closing them, while trying to encourage people to visit.

  5. PS

    I have to say that picture of the poor TDC litter picker is one of the most depressing picture I have seen in ages. You have to feel so sorry for him.

    • Expect they are all used to it-as soon as they clean up one place somebody is there dropping fag butts, chocolate wrappers, letting their dog crap & not picking it up etc. He & TDC know full well one litter picker on a beach with hundreds of idiots drinking, taking drugs & stuffing their faces is about as much use as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

    • No way am I paying to go to a public beach !. Typical English response that’s hit every with a charge instead of dealing with the people committing the crime.

  6. Instead of the council worker being humiliated by pigs on the beach, the beach should be cleaned early morning with a mechanical beach cleaning machine and not attempted to clean It whilst people are on the beach. It’s madness to expect an employee to work in that very hot environment with hundreds of people around him.

  7. How about a comment or some action from the New political administration? Maybe Cllr Robert Bayford would like to comment? I have to say at least I usedto get a response from Cllr Steve Albion if I was forced to email him onn an issue in Ramsgate. I won’t hold my breath wirh his successor!

  8. Unfortunately this is only the beginning – summer holidays haven’t started yet for most & it’s only going to get busier while people aren’t allowed to go abroad.
    Dig deep people, go out for your walks armed with a black bag & litter picker, challenge anyone doing anything inappropriate & remember that come September they’ll all be gone again! 😘❤️

  9. Art well said people need to be responsible for actions too many don’t care because they can walk away, visitors and locals. Tdc need to employ more cleaners that’s always been known, time they did and quickly. Get police and council staff to walk the beaches and tell people to clean up or on the spot fine. And art the fine should be 1000s to make them think and maybe clean up …..
    In a real world???

  10. One worker says it all. TDC is too busy spending millions on what seems to be endless tribunals and grievances or buying pontoons for Bretts that Bretts didn’t ask for. Or moving travellers from Tory Palm Bay to Labour Ramsgate.

  11. Can you lmagine what the place would look like without this guy trying his best to contain a sea of waste. There could be a bin every 10 feet. And people would still leave there rubbish. Just super super lazy. Maybe more education at school level about respect of what you have around you.

  12. John spot on! Especially over the latest fiasco on the moving of the travellers to a site in Ramsgate.

    Which Cabinet members had input into this decision? and who decided it was unimportant to at least have the courtesy to liaise with the Central Harbour Ward Councillors.

  13. It’s hardly TDC’s fault that so many people can’t behave responsibly. In the absence of fines being handed out AND ENFORCED nothing will ever change, it’d be interesting to get some figures for the cost of the existing and extra bins along with the twice daily emptying alone let alone all the additional man hours expended.
    As for the toilets that certainly is a tdc failure to invest. But not sure that the chap pissing on the tree could reasonably expect a facility at that exact location, there seem to be lotsmof portaloos dotted about this year.

    • In the short term they should ban eating and drinking alcohol on all beaches then people would have to go into town and spend money and use the loos there. But they have had years to get this issue of littering and toilets sorted out for the summer tourist and day tripper season so I do blame TDC in that respect. They need to employ lots of staff to enforce their regulations during weekends and public holidays but are inept. It can be done almost everywhere else except Thanet.

  14. Brits are notorious for disrespecting public spaces with rubbish & dog poo. Growing up those years we were told to throw rubbish in a bin or if there is none you take your rubbish home. It was part of what you do. We should learn a lot on cleanliness from Singapore. They dont tolerate public mess, you are reported, fined or prosecuted. They also have a culture of respect of each other and public spaces. It’s a disgrace that these people other the Gypsies and Travellers. Yet they are worse. It should be stopped.

  15. The negative TDC Haters are out in force as usual. That beach was spotless this morning thanks to TDC. The issue is with the people using the beach and causing a mess, not TDC. There are plenty of extra bins and toilet access this year but people still treat the beach as a dumping ground. Some of you lot will never be pleased. Ever.

  16. Give the litter police the job of cleaning up as they are obviously failing into do what they are paid for unless of course they spot a local misplacing litter.

  17. And there were jet skis roaring back and forth across Ramsgate’s Main Beach, in contravention if the regulations.
    Just where was the Beach Inspector? Does Ramsgate actually have one?

  18. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, if TDC had employed the 10 street earners they put the Council Tax up for last year then the problems wouldnt be as evident.

    They put the Council Tax up because they said they needed an extra £200k+ to employ these 10 staff then didn’t recruit them.

    What’s happened to the cash ? Are questions being asked of the Senior Director who decided not to recruit them and spend the money on somethig else ? .

  19. Christmas seems to come as a surprise to many businesses but for TDC it seems to be that people were not expected on the beach over a sunny summer weekend?
    Yes,there was bad behaviour by some but these are people who believe that they can get away with it, where is the new enforcement regime to show them that things have changed? Do they work weekends? Or are we simply misunderstanding their role?

  20. TDC are too busy wagging fingers and preaching rules to the converted. PSPO’s, my ar*e! They are too sh*t scared to confront the real trouble makers

  21. lets face it this place is a karsy – rubbish people in a rubbish place , its never going to be anything else , you can dress it up how you like with your arts and cultural centres – its never going to change , its bred into the people that live here.

    • “Rubbish people in a rubbish place”? What a depressed view of life in Thanet. It is simply not true.

    • Let me tell you Real World Thanet may be a rubbish place but I am certainly not a rubbish person I was taught to bin it or take it home so do not judge me for doing something I would never do thank the precious day trippers for what Thanet has do deal with after every one has gone home, not the locals well, not every time.

  22. Thanet District Council are pathetic. They are unable to protect us from all this abuse along the coastline. We have been saying this for years and every year the spokesman comes out and announces they will not be caught with trousers down again. It’s all lies and BS to stop the bad publicity that’s all. They are useless. Residents are taking things in hand and getting more done on their own.
    One cleaner on Margate Beach and no enforcement. Same elsewhere. The public awareness day! What a cheek, why wasn’t those officers working on the coast doing their jobs to enforce anti-social behaviour that happens each year, every year. They need to employ many more than one person to scour the entire coastline of Thanet. They fines issued will pay the wages and we will have a better area for all to enjoy. If other counties can do it then why cannot Kent? Why must Thanet be the dumping ground. Not one fine given out this weekend I bet because all the staff are at home on their weekend off. They should be working weekends. Cars parked on pavements all over the place, litter all over the promenades and beaches, no toilets, poo on beaches, all night beach parties with fireworks and camping, the same old behaviours. TDC have lost control, we need these cretins who do nothing out and people who love the area in taking full control.
    It makes me so mad that no staff were on duty ‘again’.

    • On the flip side, TDC has a duty of care for its employees, as such asking them to confront people about their behaviour and actions has to be considered a possibly confrontational and risky job, so no one is being asked to do so. The police are not going to be in attendance all day to accompany council employees (to do so may be considered to be aggressive/inflammatory).
      In this day and age with its usual “i’ll do what i want and no one can stop me” attitude , often aggravated by drink and drug use , what is there that can be done?

  23. PSPO – what a total waste of time and Council tax revenue.What is the coastal officer actually doing does anybody know? I regularly walk my dog along the cliff top at Pam Bay having to dodge the latest Land Rovers/Transit vans and other 4x4s bearing Irish number plates and driving off road with little regard for others. If I take my car off road and start driving along the same route I am sure that I would be an easy target and get a fine for doing so..I am certainly not anti travellers but could we have some equality and perhaps enforcement against those who do not believe that laws apply to them! II did try and rationally have a word with one of the female travellers who was driving close to where my dog was wallking but she clearly did not want to be at all rational telling me in no uncertain terms to go and xxxx myself! So much for community integration!,

  24. TDC can’t afford staff, too much spent on legal costs. An absolute horrific sum of our money.

    Give us our pontoons money back and the budget ringfenced for legal fees. I have never seen such a preposterously high legal bill for employment matters in a tiny organisation such as TDC.

    We need a focus on tourism and tourist facilities and attractions, cleanliness and our town centre regenerations and our coastal areas. It isn’t rocket science.

  25. Where were the traffic wardens/Margate task force, when cars were parked on all the yellow lines along the esplanade this afternoon at Westbrook.

  26. Had an idea once the rubbish is collected it could be dumped in the Turner Centre and call a peace of art say, “The day out”.

    Isnt that the sort of rubbish the TC like ? Like an unmade bed etc 😉

  27. Why don’t all of you that are complaining just stop bumping your gums because TDC doesn’t care about your feelings an wake up an realise that no-one gets to have say what anyone does not saying it is right but none of you realise that if things was put in place it still wouldn’t do much because it could be seen as trying to control every part of a person life

    • Look, they manage to do it perfectly well in non Thanet areas, so why not here? Why must Thanet always be the dumping ground for everything s..t?
      If you just roll over and except it all than you are part of the problem.

  28. This is not just a thanet problem. Whitstable and tankerton were smothered in the same sh te as Margate. You can’t blame the councils for other people’s mess.

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