Fridge-freezer and deep fat fryer among items found by South Shields volunteers on a mission to clean up their local area

A group of volunteers have stepped up to help protect their local area during the pandemic.

Since the coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced in March, a group of animal rights campaigners have been taking direct action to protect the wildlife.

With all of their events cancelled, members of the South Shields-based North East Animal Rights Group, used their free time to clean up their local area.

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Starting out picking up rubbish on their Government-mandated daily walks, the initiative has now snowballed and sees volunteers heading out with litter pickers several times a week in the Market Dock and Riverside areas.

Volunteers have found a fridge-freezer, a deep fat fryer and a bike tyre among other rubbish.

Among the dozens of cans, bottles, packaging and drug paraphernalia collected, items they have come across include an abandoned fridge-freezer, a deep fat fryer and a bike tyre.

Anna Malia, who set up the group in February, has lost count of the number of bin bags they have filled, she said: “During the lockdown a couple of us were going out for walks and the area was looking really badly over-run with rubbish, so we started taking litter pickers with us.

"Then others in the community got involved and set up different groups in their own areas.”

The 53-year-old continued: "Although it started off as a way to get some fresh air and exercise, it’s all linked in with the wider aim of what we do.

Volunteers from North East Animal Rights Group with a bike tyre found earlier this week.

"A lot of litter ends up in the river and is harmful to the fish and dogs are at risk of cutting themselves on the broken glass that’s left on the ground.”

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And residents have raised concerns about the amount of litter being left in popular coastal areas such as The Leas.

The group also go out once a week to take care of overgrown weeds on public pathways, using eco-friendly weed killer.

Animal rights campaigner Anna Malia set up the group in February.
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Anna added: “It’s been great to see everyone playing a part in looking after their local area.”

For more information visit the North East Animal Rights Group Facebook page.

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Members have been out litter picking several times a week in the Riverside and Market Dock areas.

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Iron fencing found by volunteers earlier this month.
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A deep fat-fryer was found earlier this month.