A great-gran has been left “shaken and bruised” after she tripped down an alleyway plagued by fly-tipping.
Carol Vaughan says her 79-year-old mum took a tumble when she tripped over an abandoned mattress while trying to navigate an overgrown back route.
Betty, lives just off St George’s Avenue, Sheerness, and often uses the alleys around the town to get to and from the high street with ease.
Her daughter, 56-year-old Carol said: “The main problem is the alleyway by Harris Road.
“The elderly people around here use the alleys as an easier way to get into town but instead used as illegal dumping places.”
Betty, a nan of six, has not only seen a mattress dumped along the network of alleys around Sheerness but also tyres, building waste, and ripped-apart bags that were once full of clothes she assumes had been stolen from charity collection points.
She said: “I won’t use the alleys anymore, they’re overgrown.
“Sheerness used to be lovely, when I moved here it was clean and tidy.
“But things have changed, and not for the better. It’s like the town has been forgotten about.”
Carol, who now lives in Twydall in Medway but grew up on the Island, explained that after her fall Betty was left with a nasty bruise.
She added: “She was quite shaken after she fell but luckily my sister, Anna, was with her.
“Mum was crouching underneath the overgrown hedges at the side of the alleyway and tripped over the mattress and clothes dumped there.
“Mum doesn’t drive and walks everywhere but the overgrown alleyways are dangerous.
“It needs addressing, by cutting out the alleyway my mum is adding an extra five or 10 mins to her walk into town.
“You can smell weed as soon as you walk into the alleys and my sister has even seen guys using the alley for a drug deal at one point.
“My mum is frightened, it is only going to get worse if the council doesn't keep on top of it.”
The mother and daughter feel the town is in desperate need of regeneration.
Betty said: “I scratched my face on an overgrown hedge trying to get through the alley the other day.
“You can’t even put an umbrella up when it is raining it is so overgrown.
“It is discouraging people from using the alleys and coming to the town. There is no pride in the people of the town anymore.
“If the council helped keep it clean and tidy the people living here would too.”
Carol agreed, even referring to Morrissey’s song, Everyday Is Like Sunday, when speaking about Sheerness.
She added: “Sheerness is being left behind, it's a forgotten area.
“There is a lyric that goes ‘This is the coastal town, that they forgot to close down’ and that is exactly what Sheerness is like nowadays.”
Betty visited the Swale council offices in person to report the fly-tipping.
Although certain dumpsites have been cleaned up there is nothing in place to act as a deterrent for those doing the illegal dumping and it has happened again.
The local authority has been contacted for comment.