Feature: Clearing up mess left by groups of youths at Ilkeston play area

Tesco's Community Outreach team who did a litter pick at Abbotsford Community Centre on Wednesday, are from left, Carl Derbyshire, Richard Taylor, Daniel Bednall, Alicia Badder and Terri Mottram.
Tesco's Community Outreach team who did a litter pick at Abbotsford Community Centre on Wednesday, are from left, Carl Derbyshire, Richard Taylor, Daniel Bednall, Alicia Badder and Terri Mottram.
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Picking up other people’s rubbish isn’t most folk’s idea of fun.

But after becoming fed up of seeing the sorry state of an area close to a Abbotsford Playgroup on the Shipley View estate, a team of volunteers from Tesco headed out on a grey Wednesday morning on a litter picking mission.

Alicia Badder gets to grips with discarded pop bottles as part of Tesco's Community Outreach litter pick project on Abbotsford Community Centre's ground.

Alicia Badder gets to grips with discarded pop bottles as part of Tesco's Community Outreach litter pick project on Abbotsford Community Centre's ground.

Daniel Bednall, 33, team manager for Tesco Ilkeston said: “Abbotsford Playgroup is very close to my heart as it’s where both my children, nephew and god-daughter attended. The site is subject to vast hordes of teenagers going down and pulling the bedding plants up from the school garden, vandalising the playground and smashing glass bottles in and around the area.

“The playground became increasingly difficult to use because of the amount of glass around. I wanted to do something because it’s something I care about.”

He said the problem of mess at the playground had been an ongoing issue for a number of years: “My wife once went and planted some plants at the garden centre, they had all been ripped up in a week and one woman had to clean glass up from her garden. It gets used by teens destroying it on a regular basis. I can’t even tell you the amount of glass we found there.

“We had two hours to clean up - it would have been impossible to move all the glass but it’s not the worst I’ve seen it.”

The clean-up operation was part of Tesco’s community outreach programme.

He added: “There must be something that can be done. I walked through there one night and there was about 30 teens on bikes. Even parts of the floors have been ripped up on several occasions. We just need to create more awareness. I have been in contact with Erewash Borough Council and they are aware of the ongoing issue.”

Anna Halford, who runs Abbotsford Pre-School Playgroup for children, said she is regularly finding discarded cigarette butts and broken glass. She also said she has found empty bags that once contained drugs.

She said: “It’s the children that hang around there. They are not given any sort of authority teaching them right from wrong.

“We do take the children to the park but there’s glass everywhere. It is a big problem. We have to do a risk assessment and pick up the glass as much as possible when we take them on the play area.

“There used to be a ranger who used to clean up every morning but that stopped about six years ago.

“I think it’s wonderful that Dan and his team came to clean up but it’s a reoccurring problem.

“Two years ago we planted some vegetables and that was ripped out. Plants are forever being ripped up and we even had a piece of timber stolen that was used to cover the sand pits.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police, said: “Safer neighbourhood teams are there to deal with the issues that our communities are facing and our officers strive to address those issues as quickly as they can.

“As well as patrols, we use other means to get to the root of the problem. We would always encourage local people to contact us with information about those responsible for this anti-social behaviour, so that we can take further action.”