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Friends of Dartford Heath collect more than 400 bags of rubbish during three-month clean-up effort


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Bottles of urine, bags of human waste and used condoms were just some of the items found during a three-month litter pick.

The Friends of Dartford Heath collected more than 400 bags worth of rubbish from Rochester Way in Dartford across March, April and May.

A before picture of the litter. Picture: Sam Brennan
A before picture of the litter. Picture: Sam Brennan

The group is made up of local residents who meet with local councillors, heath rangers and fire and police services throughout the year to discuss issues regarding the woodland.

Sam Brennan, of Heather Drive in Dartford, helps to organise volunteer days for members to clean up the site and the surrounding areas.

He said: "We were all keen to clear it but knew it wasn't a task that could be done quickly and without a huge effort.

"From your car it looked bad, but once you climbed the verge and looked down, it was like peering into hell.

"It was horrendous, incredibly sad, daunting and felt unachievable; there were obvious years of neglect."

An after picture of the area once the Friends cleared the refuse. Picture: Sam Brennan
An after picture of the area once the Friends cleared the refuse. Picture: Sam Brennan

Sam and the volunteers decided to split the road into three sections and spread those sections across a three-month period to maximise efficiency.

"The first round was mostly our original volunteer group, around 10 to 15 of us, and it was hard work," added the 37-year-old.

"We knew we needed more help but our Facebook page didn't have a huge following."

For the second session, the group called on the help of family and friends and ended up with around 25 volunteers.

By the time the team reached the third section, which was one of the worst, 33 people had joined in with the mammoth-effort.

Around 60 volunteers helped to pick up rubbish. Picture: Sam Brennan
Around 60 volunteers helped to pick up rubbish. Picture: Sam Brennan

Sam said: "Seeing families with their children and educating them about littering and the impact it has on the environment was great.

"The hum of chatter in the trees, the mountains of rubbish at the end of each session and the possibility of more great achievements for the group in the future, it is exciting and very rewarding to witness and be part of."

A catalogue of refuse was found, including fridges, car seats, odd shoes, sofas, bottles of urine, condoms and bags of excrement – which Sam believes didn't belong to an animal.

On the up side, one member did find a £10 note while sifting through the rubbish.

The Friends of Dartford Heath tackled the litter over a three-month period. Picture: Sam Brennan
The Friends of Dartford Heath tackled the litter over a three-month period. Picture: Sam Brennan

The friends will monitor the area and are investigating the use of CCTV to help deter any further anti-social behaviour.

The next event is on the June 5 at 10am.

Slightly further afield, Newtown Ward Councillor Laura Edie was joined by local residents to tackle the litter problem in the alleyway between Howard Road and St Vincent's Road.

To find out more on how to get involved at Dartford Heath, visit the Facebook page.

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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