A voluntary group in Radcliffe has said the town's litter problem is getting better despite recovering hundreds of pounds worth of trolleys and some drug paraphernalia in a clean up. 

At 10am on a Saturday, the Radcliffe Litter Pickers (RLP), Little Britain Anglers and United Utilities River Rangers assembled by the River Irwell to tidy up the town.

On average, the litter pickers clear around 6,000 bags of rubbish from Radcliffe each year and say that whilst the situation is getting better, there is a lack of education around littering. 

One of the group's founding members, Gill Smith, said: “It can be frustrating, cleaning up just to go back and clean the same spot again the next week. 

Bury Times: Radcliffe Litter Pickers

“There is a lack of education and we are working with a lot of young people to raise awareness. 

“We get a lot of cases where people eat in car parks then throw the rubbish out the car window.

Bury Times: Drug paraphernalia found by Radcliffe litter pickers

“We find all sorts of things and occasionally come across drug paraphernalia, but we have sharps bins and people who are trained to those types of things.” 

Bury Times: Hook used to get the trolleys out of the river

On Saturday, October 14, volunteers recovered around 12 trolleys, in various states, from under the bridge on Pilkington Way, Radcliffe. 

Bury Times: Trolleys in the River Irwell

River Ranges used a grappling hook to fish the trolleys out of the River Irwell. 

Bury Times: Trolleys in the River Irwell

Radcliffe First Councillor, Carol Birchmore, said under the bridge has become an anti-social hotspot. 

Bury Times: Councillor Carol Birchmore

She said: “Some of the people coming under this bridge cause a lot of problems so when we do litter picks, we never come under here alone.  

“We get trolleys thrown into the river from the top of the bridge, we find drug paraphernalia, and you can see on the ground where fires are being set too. 

Bury Times: Radcliffe litter pickers

“We have asked the council to put a gate across so people with fishing rights could come down here and it might stop the antisocial behaviour. 

“A lot of residents don’t use this walkway, they use the crossing over the top of the bridge so it would make sense to section it off.”

Bury Times: Radcliffe litter pickers

Moving away from the river and more towards the centre of Radcliffe, pickers said they regularly tidy the area and have been thanked by residents for doing so. 

One told Gill, she didn’t want to think about how the area would look without the litter pickers.

Bury Times: Radcliffe litter pickers

Gill said: “There’s a brilliant community in Radcliffe, volunteers and supporters. 

“When we go on picks people stop and say thank you.

Bury Times: Radcliffe Litter Pickers before the pick

“Hopefully, when the new academy comes to Radcliffe they can get involved with the voluntary groups and we can teach them, whilst they are still young, about the importance of throwing rubbish away because it can’t go on like it is.

“We just need to remember that it will get better, it already has.” 

Bury Times: United Utilities River Ranger, Jason

Finishing the busy morning off with a brew at Radcliffe Market, United Utilities River Ranger, Jason, who typically covers Cumbria and the Lake District, said: “This is a brilliant group of people and one of the best I have come across when doing litter picks over the North West.”