Trolley Splash: Supermarket sweep fishes 21 trolleys from River Plym
A HAUL of dumped shopping trolleys has been fished out of a Plymouth estuary amid concerns they were putting river users at risk.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's paid for the 21 submerged trolleys to be removed from the Plym Estuary after fears were raised with the police.
Sgt Ryan Canning, Plymouth's Wildlife Crime Officer, said in recent months he had been approached by concerned members of the public who highlighted the build-up of shopping trolleys within the Plym Estuary.
Some are believed to have come from the large Sainsbury's superstore at Marsh Mills, which lies adjacent to the River Plym.
Sgt Canning said: "Sadly, due to anti-social behaviour, numerous trolleys have found their way over the supermarket fence and into the estuary.
"When the river is in spate, this has caused the trolleys to be washed downstream where they have settled in the mud or on the sand banks opposite the rowing club.
"I was made aware of the issue by bird watchers, dog walkers and others who enjoy the river and although not a wildlife crime as such, they were an eyesore and several of the trolleys did present a danger to speed boats using the estuary for water skiing.
"Although best enjoyed – and safest – at high tide, there are occasionally smaller craft at speed above Laira Bridge from mid-tide up and the occupants may believe they are operating in a few feet of water when in fact, there is a trolley sticking up."
Sgt Canning said Sainbury's was keen to help fish the rusting trolleys out of the water.
"They put me in contact with their regional facilities manager who arranged for all of the trolleys to be cleared, which I'm sure was a costly commitment but has certainly made the area better," he added.
Over a two-day period, contractors employed by the supermarket chain removed a total of 21 shopping trolleys from the river and estuary, disposing of them at a Plymouth scrap metal merchants.
David Evans, store manager at Sainsbury's Marsh Mills, said: "We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and we aim to be a good neighbour in the Marsh Mills community. People enjoy using the river and we were pleased to play our part in making it cleaner and safer.
"We have also taken a number of steps to prevent people abandoning trolleys, such as placing posts at the pedestrian entrance that trolleys cannot pass through, and we intend to re-site the trolley park soon."
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