Did teen revellers’ litter kill Clitheroe animals?

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Teenage revellers have been slammed for turning a popular Clitheroe beauty spot into a dangerous dump, leaving litter which could be responsible for killing farm animals found dead this week.

Angry residents and holidaymakers contacted The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times after discovering a trail of broken bottles, cans, metal bottle tops, tin foil, used condoms and other litter along a stretch of the Ribble downstram of Edisford Bridge. They also found evidence that some of the litter had been chewed, and possibly eaten, by livestock.

One of those who contacted us was local angling expert and conservationist Martin James, who has spent much of this week clearing the mess. He also learned on Monday this week that the local farmer has removed two dead animals from the litter-strewn field – a sheep and a cow.

“Was this due to the litter?” asked Mr James. “We don’t know, but having found a sheep last week choking on a condom it could well have been. As the farmer told me when I asked about insurance, ‘We don’t get anything, we also have to pay for transport to Cumbria for the dead animals’.”

Another man who wrote to us – a visitor to the area – said he was appalled by the behaviour of local teenagers he saw and was so disgusted by the aftermath of their antics that he cut short his holiday and vowed never to return. The drink-fuelled antics coincide with school leavers at local secondary schools effectively breaking up for the summer, as they now only have to go into school to sit any exams they are taking.

Police and council officials say they have been working together and were involved in a clean up operation during the “mad week” of end-of-school celebrations.

Mr Chris Hughes, head of culture and leisure services at Ribble Valley Borough Council, said officers will continue to ensure youngsters using the park and river bank remove their rubbish. He is also urging parents to keep an eye on their children.

He commented: “The mad week of celebrations also coincides with good weather and yes, the street cleansing lads had to take on extra shifts during the clean-up mission, where big sacks of rubbish were disposed of.

“We want everyone to enjoy popular public spaces and we understand teenagers want to let off steam at the end of their school days. However, we are also urging them to be responsible and to clear up after themselves.”

Similar views were expressed by Insp. Graham Lister, of Clitheroe Police, who added: “Police are always patrolling hotspot areas and we will be monitoring this situation carefully. In the meantime, if anyone has any concerns about anti-social behaviour, they should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

See Valley Views, Page 14.