Volunteer litter pickers quit after couple told not to empty rubbish by Preston Council worker because the bin bag had been changed

Preston City Council has apologised to a volunteer litter picker who gave up his hobby after being confronted by a council worker.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 7:34 am
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 9:31 am

Mick Turner was doing his daily litter pick in the Ashton and Lea area of Preston when he went to empty a small carrier bag of litter into a public bin.

He claims a Preston Council worker challenged him and said he shouldn’t empty the litter into the bin as he had “just changed the bin bag”.

Mr Turner, of Parkside, said that when he asked what he should do with his collection of public litter, the worker replied: “Take it home and put it in your own bin.”

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Mick and April with some of the rubbish they have collected

An astonished Mr Turner, 57, waiting for more than a month for an explanation from Preston Council, in the meantime suspending his litter picking duties.

Mr Turner said he and his wife April covered up to 12 miles a day on their rambles.

He had taken up walking for health reasons and to keep active, and started picking up litter en route.

They had received lots of praise from many local residents, dog walkers and park rangers.

Many have praised the couple for their litter picking around Ashton and Lea

On Friday November 1 he was emptying his small carrier bag of litter in the waste bin at the top of Jubilee Avenue when the council worker confronted him and told him to take his litter home.

Mr Turner wrote to the council asking: “Could you please tell me if he is correct? If so my wife and I will have no option but to cease litter picking because we would have no room in our bin for our own waste and you will be down two volunteer litter pickers for the Ashton and Lea area.”

Mr Turner said he and his wife collected four or five carrier bags of litter per day between them as they set off on separate routes.

They empty their bags several times as they pass litter bins.

Occasionally if the litter bins are full they take the litter home.

Mr Turner said: “Maybe I caught this guy on a bad day, but he was very insistent that I couldn’t put the rubbish in that bin.

“I said that’s what it was for. He said ‘It’s not your personal bin’.

“It’s so annoying – I haven’t been litter picking since.”

A spokesman for Preston City Council said: “We have spoken to Mr and Mrs Turner and thank them for all the work they do in the Ashton and Lea community through litter picking.

“We have apologised to them and we believe they’re satisfied that the incident is resolved.

“It’s great that people want to help keep their local community clean and tidy and we have ways to support anyone that wants to assist in this way.

“Waste bags are provided to volunteers with information about getting them collected.

“We have exciting plans for the new year to help support our volunteer litter pickers and the invaluable work they do to keep our communities tidy.”