Blackpool’s beaches are as famous as its Tower, and are a key part of tourism in the resort – but the golden mile might not be all that it seems.
A beach cleaning volunteer has revealed the state of the resort’s beaches and claimed they are getting worse.
Gavin Breakell has been cleaning up the resort’s sand for more than a year now and said he is shocked at the amount of rubbish continually being chucked on the golden shoreline.
The 38-year-old freelance photographer, who lives on Whitegate Drive and visits the beach several times each weeks, said: “I first joined up with the Sea Life Centre as part of its monthly beach cleans but I soon found out doing it once a month was not enough.
“I approached the council who were happy for me to be a volunteer beach cleaner and I tend to do it around two or three times a week depending on the tide.
“The litter has definitely got worse since I first started beach cleaning with Sea Life, and it’s also the different types of rubbish I keep finding.”
Gavin said two of the most common items he finds are glass bottles and needles.
He said he has also been finding more legal high canisters in front of the Comedy Carpet attraction.
He added: “Back in October, I found a black canister with six syringes in it. It was among a load of seaweed as well, so it could have been really dangerous if children picked it up.
“If I stop doing all of this cleaning, I dread to think how terrible the mess will be.
“Last year, a guy from the council would come out and help me if I needed assistance but he has left now.
“I have been doing it on my own since then and I still let the council know if I come across any large items I can’t get myself.”
Gavin said: “There does not seem to be a fully operational beach cleaning team from the council and I think there should be one.
“They may focus on the town centre but the beach is one of the main tourist attractions.
“Each time I find things on the beach, I take photos of them and send them to someone the council and I also put them on my Facebook page so other people know about the rubbish on our beaches.”
Another thing that annoys Gavin is the amount of people he spots littering and not caring about it.
He explained how he spotted a girl throwing empty fish and chip boxes off one of the piers and when he confronted her she didn’t seem bothered.
He added: “I think they need to start fining more people and more regularly.
“There is a time when the council has to be forceful and I think it’s getting to it.
“If more people start having to pay for their actions they may perhaps think about littering in the first place and it will also generate some money for the council to put into more beach cleaning investment.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Council, which is responsible for keeping the sand clear, said it works with organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy and LOVEmyBEACH to make sure the resort’s streets and beaches are kept clean.
The spokesman added: “Streetscene are responsible for keeping Blackpool’s main beach area clean.
“This area stretches between North Pier and South Pier and it is cleaned daily from May to October.
“Outside of this period, daily inspections take place and any large tidal debris is removed where necessary.”
The council has a website where certain types of litter problems can be reported.
Untidy or littered streets, graffiti on public land, syringes, overflowing litter bins, dead animals and overgrown weeds can be reported.
Go to selfservice.blackpool.gov.uk/ss/forms/streetcleaning/default.aspx to report problems.
Priority will be given to syringes, dead animals and offensive graffiti.