Friends group condemns 'appalling' littering in Stanley Park following Easter celebrations
A Friends group that dedicates hundreds of hours each year to the upkeep of Blackpool's beloved Stanley Park has condemned litter louts who left rubbish all over the green during the Easter weekend.
Takeaway boxes, empty beer cans, bottles, sweet packets and other waste was left strewn all over the park's gardens, footpaths and woodlands following the easing of lockdown restrictions last week, which allowed people to meet outside in groups of six for the first time in weeks.
Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park said: "It's terrible. It's heartbreaking really, when you think about all the hard work the Friends group does to keep it nice. It only takes one or two days the ruin it.
"Why can't they take it home with them? They carry it there, so why can't they carry it back? It's not as though we haven't got any bins there.
"I don't know what to say other than it's appalling. It's such a big job to tackle on our own, so the council came in early in the morning."
She said the mass of litter found in the park followed a large gathering of approximately 300 people on the Stanley Park bowling green on Thursday night, which had to be dispersed by police.
"It was fine weather, an Easter holiday, lockdown restrictions were easing and the park was absolutely packed," she said. "you couldn't move for people and the Italian Gardens were full, and people were queing at the cafe window because they are doing takeaways.
"Normally it would be the Easter fair this weekend, which we has obviously missed this year, and we have lost the income from that. Usually we make about £2,000 at the Easter fair which gives us a good start for the summer.
"There's always litter after a busy weekend, but nothing like this. We have never seen anything like this before. Litter is always a problem and we can never understand why people don't take it home, but something on this scale is out of the ordinary."
Artist and youth worker Brendan Bunting said: "Tourists often get a lot of grief for the litter in Blackpool, but this won’t be tourists, sadly this will be ours.To the people that have left the park in such a mess you should be ashamed of this! Not sure if you are aware but there are old women in their 80s who volunteer their time to pick litter in the park, keeping it tidy for us all to enjoy, not just the selfish minority like yourselves.
"Seriously if you had any self respect or decency you would go back to Stanley Park this Easter and pick up some litter. It’s disappointing to see a park that brings so much joy to many left in such a disrespectful way."
Blackpool Council has warned that litter enforcement officers can issue fixed penalty notices to anyone caught dropping rubbish.
Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for Tourism and Culture, said: "We look forward to people enjoying Blackpool once again as guidelines and restrictions have started to ease.
"However, we continue to send messages and information out to visitors and residents to emphasise social distancing responsibilities alongside the importance of keeping our town and our beaches litter free.
"Our much loved beaches and parks have been a lifeline for many through this incredibly difficult time so we urge people to protect our environment and use bins provided to dispose of litter or take it home."