Disgusted traders left to clean up human faeces from Sidmouth alleyway
PUBLISHED: 16:30 01 September 2016
Business owners who are unfortunately acquainted with clearing up mess in a well-trodden link were twice left fuming last week - when someone defecated in the alleyway.
Roz Kendall, of the Filling Station, and Dawn Manley, of The Lighthouse, were both greeted by the unsavoury sight and smell of human waste when they arrived at work.
The traders are well-versed at cleaning up vomit, urine and litter in Cross Lane, but said faeces was a new low.
They called on East Devon District Council (EDDC) to help, but were told it can only intervene on private land for a fee.
Mrs Kendall said: “It’s horrible – absolutely sickening. I tried to stop someone urinating against the wall during FolkWeek. It’s not acceptable.
“It’s usually at least once a fortnight we have to clean up something revolting. We’ve got well-practiced at it. Human faeces is another step. The problem is [the alley] doesn’t belong to the council, so they don’t feel obligated to clean it.”
Mrs Kendall learned that the ownership of the alleyway had been uncertain since the 1800s after she bought the Filling Station with son Luke Allen two years ago. He used to work for Trumps, so knows the walkway has been abused for years.
Cross Lane is used by their business, The Loft and Coffee #1 – all food businesses – as well as The Lighthouse and Devon Embroidery.
Ms Manley said the traders had made efforts to improve Cross Lane with flowers and lighting and it was ‘disappointing’ a minority would abuse it.
They have considered installing CCTV and Sergeant Andy Squires said the police would assess evidence if that went ahead, although the incidents have all happened in the dark, so identification of any culprits is difficult.
Sgt Squires said it may be possible in combination with a proposed new town-wide surveillance system and his officers will patrol the walkway in the meantime.
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “This is disgusting and very unfortunate, but Cross Lane is an ‘unadopted’ road – essentially a private lane – and as such it would be the responsibility of the landowner or adjacent business owners to clean up.
“The council can offer spot cleaning as a chargeable service for this area, but the funding would need to come from the businesses.”