“I could’ve wept”: Seaburn resident speaks of disgust as used condoms and cannabis found in rubbish left by visitors

A life-long Seaburn resident has spoken of his shock and disgust after used condoms, alcohol bottles and cannabis were found in rubbish dumped near the seafornt this morning.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 4:48 pm
Rubbish collected by Sunderland's Wild Sea Women.
Rubbish collected by Sunderland's Wild Sea Women.

Retired senior police officer Michael Hartnack spotted the piles of waste strewn in the field between Seaburn and South Bents fields last night (March 30).

Mr Hartnack, 58, has described the scene as an “absolute disgusting mess” and said “it was a lot worse” than anything he had seen before.

It comes after warm weather and relaxed Covid rules attracted people to the coast.

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The waste included used condoms, cannabis and alcohol bottles.

He said: "It was an absolute and utter tip.

"I was just shocked and totally disgusted.”

After collecting some of the rubbish last night, Mr Hartnack returned with other residents early this morning (March 31) to pick up the rest of litter. It took the group two hours to collect the waste left at the fields, and one of the volunteers got cut when clearing the debris.

Mr Hartnack said: “I could’ve wept this morning when I saw the full extent of the rubbish.

Rubbish left in the South Bent fields./Photo: Michael Hartnack

"One of the volunteers got cut this morning and will possibly have to get a tetanus injection.”

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He said the majority of the waste was left behind by young people in their teens and urged parents to be more aware of their children’s whereabouts.

Mr Hartnack added: “My appeal would be to parents. Where are your children? What are they up to? When are people going to start take responsibility for their own actions?

Local residents (from left to right) Diane Porter, Michael Hartnack and Susanne Kennedy collect rubbish on South Bents field.

"During the day yesterday there was some really responsible groups of adults that turned up with families and that was nice to see.

"They all moved off probably by six o’clock and from six o’clock onwards there was only groups of young people drinking and causing noise, and havoc and mess.”

"What I’m going to do tonight is give each of the groups I see black bin bags and ask them nicely, decently to fill those bin bags and to discard their rubbish by the bins over by the skateboard park. Whether that makes any difference or not, I don’t know.”

Local residents (from left to right) Diane Porter, Michael Hartnack and Susanne Kennedy collect rubbish on South Bents field.

Fiona Brown, Sunderland City Council’s Executive Director of Neighbourhood Services said:

"It is understandable that residents and visitors want to take advantage of good weather on Sunderland’s beaches and in public spaces, and we know that the vast majority of people do this responsibly.

"However, yesterday we saw a minority ruin the environment for everyone else by leaving their rubbish lying around.

“This is completely unacceptable, and we are once again asking everybody to dispose of their rubbish properly in litter bins or take it back home with them.”

The shocking images come as the Echo continues to run its Clean Streets campaign which urges all Wearsiders to take pride in their communities and report those who blight our public spaces with litter and fly-tipping.

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