New scheme launched to protect Sunderland Heritage Coast

Ian Graham, Chief Inspector Jamie Southwell, Superintedent Sarah Pitt, Neill Benson and Councillor Alan Emerson launch the new Coast Watch scheme in Ryhope. Picture: TOM BANKS
Ian Graham, Chief Inspector Jamie Southwell, Superintedent Sarah Pitt, Neill Benson and Councillor Alan Emerson launch the new Coast Watch scheme in Ryhope. Picture: TOM BANKS
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Your Heritage Coastline needs you!

Northumbria Police has joined forces with the Heritage Coast Partnership to launch Coast Watch Sunderland East – a scheme aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour and environmental crime from Sunderland down to the border with County Durham.

It follows the success of a similar scheme which already operates from Hartlepool northwards.

Yesterday’s launch at Ryhope Community Association was followed by a 3km walk along the England Coast Path, taking in Ryhope Dene and Ryhope Village.

The Heritage Coast Partnership brings together Durham County, Sunderland, Hartlepool, and Seaham councils; the National Trust, Natural England, the Environment Agency, Durham Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water, Groundwork, Blackhalls, Easington Colliery and Horden Regeneration Partnerships, and Ryhope Community Association.

Heritage Coast Officer Niall Benson is based at Ryhope Community Centre.

Tell us what is going on, inform us about what is going on and we can all work in partnership in order to reduce anti-social behaviour.

Supt Sarah Pitt

“We stretch from Sunderland down to Hartlepool,” he said.

“The partnership works to protect and enhance landscape quality, improve access and increase local use.

“We are looking for communities to embrace their local coastline, to be responsible for it and develop stewardship.

“We have developed Coast Watch in County Durham as a way to tackle anti-social behaviour and it has been really successful in getting people to report incidents.

“Now Northumbria Police have picked up on that and replicated it.

“It is about encouraging people to report all kinds of criminal activity, whether it be anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, or wildlife crime, and getting them to join in with the work of the partnership.”

Mayor of Sunderland Coun Alan Emerson was on hand to officially kick off the new scheme.

“I am really pleased to be here today to launch the next stage for our amazing Heritage Coast,” he said.

“Our coastal assets are absolutely amazing but we have a responsibility to look after it as well as enjoy it.”

Supt Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police, said Coast Watch was: “A massive opportunity for us to work with residents and visitors to our fantastic coast.

“Tell us what is going on, inform us about what is going on and we can all work in partnership in order to reduce anti-social behaviour,” she said.