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How should we tackle the north's litter louts?

Chris Jackson | 15:29 UK time, Monday, 21 November 2011

So what's your answer to litter?

Well, I'm sure you'll not hesitate to let me know by adding your comments to the blog this week.

I certainly had a lump in my throat when the producer said: "Chris keep your eyes peeled for anyone dropping litter and then go after them".

Well you know me; I've been in some tight spots in the past with Inside Out, but normally when I challenge someone it's because we've scouted them out and know pretty much how they'll react.

This was going to be a complete unknown. As it happened it became a fascinating lesson in people watching.

There I was in the centre of Middlesbrough waiting for someone to casually drop whatever they were holding and just keep on walking.

Every likely looking candidate (anyone finishing a ciggie or taking the last bite of a hurriedly bought bag of chips or chocky bar) was under my piercing gaze.

But more often than not they went the extra few yards out of their way to find a bin. Well done the 'Boro!

However it was too good to last and down went the tab end, so I jumped right in.

Then there was the very deft manoeuvre from a young lad who placed a used pop can on a bench without breaking his stride. It was neatly placed, but still litter.

I needn't have worried, they both owned up immediately and without any real prompting went to collect their rubbish and dispose of it properly. That tells me they knew fine well they were littering and that it was wrong. No discussion needed.

However the problem is on a massive scale, as we proved when the council agreed to an Inside Out experiment.

It deliberately didn't clean a mile of Linthorpe Road of the weekend. They had to warn local businesses in advance, which was just as well because it turned into a tip.

When we did the big clean up we filled loads of bags. It just goes to show what would happen if councils didn't clean up after us. In hard times they say they could better spend the money on other things.

Chris Jackson on CCTV

Caught on camera on CCTV in Middlesbrough

In Middlesbrough of course they also have the infamous "talking CCTV".

When we were filming I deliberately dropped some litter and a detached voice suddenly boomed at me in the street. It picked me out of the crowd by describing what I was wearing.

Everybody stopped and turned and stared at me. A group of lads across the street burst out laughing at my public humiliation... their reaction was clearly on the side of the talking camera and not mine.

It's tough but sure gets your attention!

But how do you think we should tackle litter louts?

Add your comments now...


  • Comment number 1.

    about ten years ago I came across a gang of youths ouside a chippy, standing right next to a litter bin, as i walked past one them threw his used chip paper onto the pavement, I said to him "come on now lads, put it in the bin" ...and was subjected to loads of verbal abuse from all six of them, so I walked on, a while later I was walking through the centre of Carlisle with my daughter when I saw the three main culprits walking towards me, I thought the odds were a bit better at three to one, so I grabbed the first one by the scruff of the neck and shoved him over a low wall and threatened to punch his lights out, needless to say, he squealed like a stuck pig, and when I let him go, they ran off, but the next day, I was punched on the back of the head as three of them took their revenge from behind before running off, I found out later that some of them are known druggies you never really know what you're dealing with eh?

  • Comment number 2.

    I've always thought I would tackle anyone dropping litter-but actually, would I? As a 65 year old, reasonably fit lady I am no superwoman, but would be so angry that I think I would open my mouth before thinking. Reading the previous comment makes me question the wisdom of that, but then if people like me don't show their disapproval how are children/youths to understand that what they are doing is wrong and affects all of us?
    I pick up litter every day on my way into town - and I have gone into local schools to talk to Primary school children, to try and influence them to use the bins, rather than dropping litter -I think if we allow litter to go unnoticed and unpunished then the next thing is broken windows and low grade vandalism, escalating up the scale. We should punish litter dropping -but it is necessary for Councils to realise that by employing people to watch and impose immediate fines, they could save the salaries paid over and over again by reducing the cost of litter collection, sorting the waste and cost of land fill. I have now decided that if I see someone dropping something, whoever they are, I will tackle them.

  • Comment number 3.

    In Darlington I saw a lady with a bag of bird seed which she opened on the high row within minutes there were about 200 pigeons feeding on it.I asked around and apparently she does this quite often , I was disgusted this is a real health hazard.I wrote to the counsel complaining about it and also telling them that there are no pigeons in Trafalgar Square any more and they fine people £500 if they feed them.


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