Echo readers have sprung to the defence of a Washington man threatened with legal action after launching a campaign to clean up the town.
David Render, 54, restored a rusty sculpture, refurbished a dilapidated picnic table and led teams who collected mounds of rubbish and hacked back bramble bushes - and was shocked to receive an e-mail from Sunderland City Council Head of Place Management Mark Speed accusing him of “trespass, criminal damage and removal of property.”
Maybe companies could get involved by supplying free refreshments or even the council could give out vouchers to kids to use the local leisure centre facilities for free for helping out.Chris Barron
Coun Michael Mordey, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for City Services, said the council was concerned Mr Render was putting himself and other members of the public at risk.
But dozens of visitors to the Echo’s Facebook page backed his actions.
Gary Dinsdale wrote: “I love how the council seem more than financially capable of launching and maintaining legal action to prosecute this man for ridiculous reasons - but can’t seem to find the money to empty bins in Washington.
“An utter disgrace and a perfect example of a ridiculously PC society where common sense is dying and stupid bureaucratic health and safety laws rule.”
Sarah Swinney was delighted by Mr Render’s refurbishment of the old Wear Industrial Estate sign: “I live close by and think this looks fabulous. A bit of old Washington,” she said.
“Well done to the man!”
June Wintrip condemned the threat of legal action: “Where do they get the money from to take someone to court for doing a job that they should have done?” she wrote.
“They should be thanking him and his team for being good citizens. They were only recently asking people to clean up their areas after reports in the Sunderland Echo of rubbish being dumped in the streets.
“Our council don’t think things through before they act.”
And Dawn Suggitt said the New Town was a ‘forgotten place’: “It used to be lovely,” she wrote.
“It’s a mess now. Thanks to people like this cleaning it up.”
Chris Barron said Mr Render was an example to copy: “Every community should get together and sort their local area out like the guy in the story.
“Maybe companies could get involved by supplying free refreshments or even the council could give out vouchers to kids to use the local leisure centre facilities for free for helping out.”
And Maureen Milner said local authorities should be encouraging people like Mr Render: “Why don’t the council work WITH this man who has pride in his home?
“If the council really can’t afford to maintain local areas, why don’t they speak with local volunteers and see what can be done?
“They should be grateful.”
To see the Echo’s original story about Mr Render, click here.