A community ‘day of action’ is being held to help clean up the Warwick district.
The ’day of action’ has been organised by a volunteer group known as Leam Trash Friends, who for six weeks have been cleaning up the streets across the district.
They clear needles and collect and gather rubbish and fly-tipping for the council to collect. They are also trying to raise awareness about the problems via social media.
So far, they have cleared 1,446 used needles, three knives, 196 bags of street litter and two tonnes of other waste.
Matt, from Leam Trash Friends, said: “We set up the group because it was obvious complaints and moaning got nowhere, however direct action is enabling some progress and I am
overwhelmed by the local communities support for our work.
“It’s challenging to keep on top of things, our priority is to stop any person becoming injured by a dirty needle. The council response is not adequate and we feel a moral duty to remove the risk as a priority. As we know of regular hot spots a daily patrol is undertaken to recover any newly disposed needles.”
The volunteers have faced a number of challenges when trying to keep the streets clean and feel that more needs to be done to help the problem.
“I take the personal risk when clearing needles whilst we raise funds to insure myself and others,” said Matt. “Being told we need insurance in excess of £5,000 is lunacy - we are simply improving our community for all. We need all the support we can get to combat Leamington’s needle epidemic.
“The council (except for needles) is good at removing our collected waste and have provided some bags and litter picker tools. The police refuse to take our needles any longer and we have little dialogue with them.
“In any event, Warwick District Council refuse to collect needles from us regardless of where they are found. Because of this Coventry City Council’s commercial waste division has stepped in to help us and offered to collect and incinerate our needle hauls,”
The day of action, which will take place on March 6, will see Jaguar Land Rover, Warwick District Green Party, Leamington Labour Party and Warwick District Council help clean hot spots.
“On our day of action we will target High Street and Court Street in Old Town where there are more than 650 needles in a square mile that we have struggled to get to previously,” said Matt.
“Not only will we clear the areas, but we are also boarding and securing the two locations to prevent needles being thrown into these sites whilst we get a long-term solution.”
The first clean-up will take place in Old Town and another will start at The Heathcote Inn in Whitnash.
To join the event, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or to donate to Leam Trash friends click here