Green campaigner’s bid to clear South Shields town centre streets of abandoned trolleys

David Francis with other Green Party members during a trolley collection
David Francis with other Green Party members during a trolley collection

A green campaigner is taking part in a trolley dash of a different kind sparked by the concerns of residents living near supermarkets.

Since last autumn, David Francis, along with others have been collecting abandoned trolleys and taking them back to the stores they came from.

The group decided to take action after hearing from residents living in and around South Shields town centre, how the dumped shopping carts were becoming a blight on neighbourhoods.

And the issue hasn’t let up as Mr Francis says he is often told where trolleys have been abandoned - including reports of three in one garden.

Morrisons in Ocean Road has a twice weekly trolley collection service taking place around its store with people asked to report where they have been dumped.

Areas thought to be affected the worst include Coston Drive, the Woodbine Estate and the area between Victoria Road and Derby Terrace.

There are genuine reasons why people borrow the trolleys, as it allows people to do their weekly shopping without needing a car. Unfortunately, the trolleys sometimes end up abandoned. This can leave the estates looking untidy and there are also concerns over safety.

David Francis

A Morrisons spokeswoman said: “We’re also concerned about abandoned trolleys around our store.

“We do our best to collect them as soon as the public reports them. We urge customers not to use trolleys to take their shopping home with them.”

Mr Francis has raised concerns with the supermarket in a bid to find a better long-term solution to the problem after dozens have been recovered from streets around the store in recent months.

It is thought each trolley costs around £100.

He said: “There are genuine reasons why people borrow the trolleys, as it allows people to do their weekly shopping without needing a car. Unfortunately, the trolleys sometimes end up abandoned. This can leave the estates looking untidy and there are also concerns over safety.

“I have spent several Saturday afternoons collecting abandoned trolleys and returning them to the supermarkets. Local people have been extremely supportive over this.

“Morrisons have told me that they pay a company to conduct weekly collections, but they are now actually running low on trolleys because of this issue. I’m optimistic that they can reintroduce the trolley-coins scheme.”

Trolleys belonging to Asda in the town centre, Iceland and Aldi have also been found dumped in neighbouring streets.

It is understood Morrisons is considering creating a group to allow residents to have their say.

He added: “Hopefully by working in partnership with the community, the supermarkets can ensure that shoppers have enough trolleys to use, and keep our estates tidy at the same time.”

People are asked if they spot an abandoned trolley to contact the store so it can be collected.