Passionate environmentalist PCSO Steve Lorrison was joined by Mini Police volunteers & the local community last week for the first planned event
A green-fingered officer has started a new enterprise in his spare time to help keep the beaches of South Shields clear of plastic.
Passionate environmentalist PCSO Steve Lorrison has set up a beach-cleaning group which he hopes will help protect and enhance the area for future generations.
The idea has received plenty of support within the local community, with dozens of volunteers turning out last week in what he hopes will be the first of many planned events.
PCSO Lorrison was accompanied by Mini Police volunteers from Hadrian Primary School, Laygate Community School and Marine Park Primary School, along with representatives from South Shields Football Club and dozens of local residents for the first clean-up.
“Here in the North East we are so lucky to have some of the country’s best beaches,” PCSO Lorrison, 41, said. “As a result, my partner Melissa and I decided to set up this group in an effort to help keep them clean and free from plastic.
“Plastic is mounting up across the world, polluting our seas and oceans and killing millions of animals – both on land and in the sea.
“So this was our way of trying to give back to the town where I was brought up, as a separate project in my spare time when I'm not walking the beat as a community support officer.
"Over the coming months I hope to set up a number of other planned events, working with local schools and the wider community, to make a difference and ensure South Shields remains a nice place to live and work.”
The inaugural clean-up saw volunteers - the majority of whom who were part of the Force's Mini Police under supervision from their teachers - pick up 21 bags of litter and plastic from Littlehaven Beach. The bags were then taken to the South Tyneside Recycling Village.
With 277 people already signed up to the group on Facebook within four weeks of it being set up, PCSO Lorrison is hopeful that many more will come forward to support the cause.
“In the near future, I plan to set up meeting points, times and dates at various beaches across the North East,” PCSO Lorrison added.
“This will be a great way to socialise, meet new people and exercise in the fresh air – all while making a positive difference to our beaches and the town where we live and work.
“If you are out enjoying a walk on one of our beaches, whether it’s alone, with family and friends or just with the dog, please take a bag along with you and pick up as much plastic as possible – you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll fill your bag!”
Anyone interested can visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/2530777147202349/.