An army of volunteer water workers have blitzed a number of North East beaches - over the course of the last two weeks - collecting countless bags of rubbish and uncovering some strange items buried within the region’s beautiful coastline.

More than 200 Northumbrian Water volunteers rolled their sleeves up to muck in and donated over 1,000 hours, through the company’s employee volunteering scheme, Just an Hour - to help reduce the amount of litter entering our seas.


A dish scouring pad, a toothbrush and the biggest catch - a car tyre - were just some of the strange items collected.


The huge community effort took place in support of World Oceans Day on Tuesday, 8 June  and The Great British Spring Clean, which took place between Friday, 28 May and Sunday, 13 June.  


Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, and a participant in one of the 17 beach cleans, said: “We are really proud to support our local communities, through our employee volunteering scheme – Just an Hour, and help improve the environment in this way.


“It’s really rewarding for us to give something back and help make a difference – and to do this in collaboration with some of our amazing partners.


“We certainly collected some strange things during our beach cleans – and some common items too, like dog poo bags, lolly sticks, face masks, plastic bottles and lots of cigarette butts.


“We can all do our bit to keep our beaches and bathing waters as pristine as we possibly can, and you can do that by putting rubbish in a bin or taking it home with you, and not using your toilet as a bin too.  


“Flushing items like wet wipes can cause pipes to block and the consequences can be devastating. Help protect the environment from being polluted by making one simple change - and that’s to Bin the Wipe.”

The top ten strangest finds were; 
  • Car tyre – Blyth
  • A dish scouring pad – Blyth
  • Socks – South Shields
  • A welly – Seaham
  • A toothbrush – Seaham
  • T-shirt - Crimdon
  • Toy cow – Crimdon
  • Pink toy flute - Seaton Carew
  • Toy tiger – Seaton Carew
  • Car tyre – Seaton Carew

The huge volunteer effort was supported by SeaScapes - as well as South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes who had their team of people out at beauty spots, Littlehaven and Sandhaven in South Shields.


Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “It was fantastic to support Northumbrian Water on this initiative.


“We pride ourselves on our stunning seafront and work extremely hard to keep our beaches clean and tidy while helping to prevent plastics and other items ending up in the sea. We also have some wonderful volunteer groups supporting the work we do. 


“World Oceans Day gives us an opportunity to highlight the impact of litter on our coastal areas and the risk it poses not only to visitors but wildlife and marine life. It’s a chance to celebrate and help protect our shoreline and marine environment.”


For more information on how Northumbrian Water supports local communities and to request for volunteer support, visit the ‘Responsibility’ section of