Lone Sidmouth litter-picker completes 120 mile clean-up

PUBLISHED: 18:14 24 May 2016 | UPDATED: 18:14 24 May 2016

Archant

A businessman turned star litter-picker has completed a single-handed three-month clean-up of 120 miles of Sidmouth's footpaths and country lanes.

In his mission to get the resort looking spick and span, Richard Eley, accompanied by his faithful cocker spaniel Millie, has picked up an astounding 600lbs of rubbish. His haul - a third of a ton - is equivalent to the weight of a grizzly bear.

Richard does not plan to stop there, however, and plans to take his cleaning programme and dream of helping Sidmouth become the ‘cleanest parish in Britain’ to the next level.

Richard’s effort is part of the national Clean for the Queen campaign and a number of other local initiatives led by Sidmouth in Bloom.

He said: “It has not been a hardship at all – Millie and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“Even though I am a keen walker, I have been surprised to find several footpaths of which I was unaware. We have a marvellous network of well-maintained footpaths in our locality.”

Richard has now revealed his plans to turn his attention towards the area’s road signs and has issued a rallying call to residents to take a wet cloth and help out by cleaning those in their streets.

“Some of the signage is filthy - to the point of illegibility,” said Richard. “It is the most simple task to just get a damp cloth and clean it.

“I am concentrating upon the worst examples, but I hope that everyone will go to the end of their road and make a modest contribution.”

Richard said that, although he had picked up a third of a ton of rubbish, he thought this part of the world was pretty clear of rubbish.

He added that in Hatway Lane, Sidbury, he had picked up 135 empty Carlsberg cans, which he presumed had been thrown out of a car’s windows by a few individuals.

“It has become apparent that a small number of people are responsible for most of the litter we find,” said Richard.

“Our farmers and landowners, in particular, should be complimented for their sympathetic management of the countryside.”

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