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Minster fossil collector says rubbish and fly-tipping is ruining Sheppey Site of Special Scientific Interest

By Lewis Dyson

A Minster man has warned that fossils and endangered plant species on Sheppey’s coast are being threatened by rubbish and fly-tipping.

Daniel Hogburn, of Kings Road, wants to see more done to protect a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) along the cliffs between Minster and Warden Bay.

Populations of the rare plants dragon’s teeth and bithynian vetch grow there and it is also known for an abundance of well-preserved fossils.

Daniel Hogburn has set up a volunteer group to clean up Sheppey's beaches

Mr Hogburn makes a living from the fossils he collects along the stretch and he says he regularly encounters litter, dumped kitchen appliances and rubble there.

The 37-year-old set up Isle of Sheppey Beach Clean Volunteers in February to try to bring people together to tackle the problem around the entire Island coastline.

He said: “After the storm surge we had at the start of the year I realised the sheer amount of rubbish that had been washed up and gets thrown off the cliffs.

“There’s a mattress, a chair, a lot of bottles and bits and pieces. There’s a lot of fishermen’s rubbish.”

“Most of it is what washes up but at the Eastchurch gap you have also got a lot of rubbish being thrown over the edge.”

Mr Hogburn has spent seven hours cleaning the beach on his own over the past six weeks, during which time he managed to fill 21 black sacks.

He said bricks and rubble were illegally dumped on the cliffs in the 1990s and, although much of it has washed away, they are now making their way along the beach and could potentially harm the protected area.

He said: “A lot of people aren’t aware it [the SSSI] is there. There are naturally rare and naturally scarce flowers there.

“People travel from all over the world to see them but very few people from Sheppey venture there.”

Mr Hogburn is inviting members of the public to join him for clean ups.

One takes place this morning, meeting at the car park on Jetty Road, Warden Bay at 10am.

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