People urged to take rubbish home after litter left on cricket pitches in Hemel Hempstead

The Box Moor Trust is asking the public to take their rubbish home with them after litter was left on the cricket club pitches at the weekend.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 9:38 am

The Trust is a charitable trust responsible for the management of nearly 500 acres of land within the parishes of Hemel Hempstead and Bovingdon, including Boxmoor Cricket Club and Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Club.

Pete Ablett, chair of Box Moor Trust land and estates committee, said: "Councillor William Allen has set up Boxmoor Good Citizens and they have been doing a wonderful job and encouraged many people to volunteer.

"We are grateful to them for all they have done.

Councillor William Allen collected the recycling bags during a pro-active litter pick

"We, the Trust, have employed extra staff as well to clear the rubbish that is left behind.

"I know that William has spoken to the police about the problem as well.?

"Unfortunately, for all our efforts in trying to encourage people to take their litter away with them, or to put it in a bin, an uncaring minority of people are being careless and not taking it away with them.

"It's not only young people either, we have been told that there was rubbish left behind by fishermen as well.

A reader sent photos of rubbish left at Heath Park on Saturday morning

"We have an ongoing commitment to try and keep the moors tidy. We are disappointed by what is going on but it is not for lack of effort from us, cllr Allen, the Boxmoor Good Citizens, and our staff.

"We are collecting a large amount of rubbish regularly.

"If people could take their rubbish away with them or put it in a bin, it will keep the area tidy for everyone.

"Another problem we are having at the moment, is the amount of nitrous oxide canisters, and I know the police are cracking down on this.

Rubbish left at Heath Park on Saturday morning

"A couple of weeks ago, I picked up hundreds of the canisters and the balloons, these are dangerous and would ask parents to try and stop young people from using these.

"Any support the public can give Box Moor Trust would be greatly appreciated."

Cllr William Allen, who represents Boxmoor, started doing pro-active litter picks in the evenings to reduce the problem.

He said: "What became clear with the post-lockdown parties on the Moor was that the police did not have resources to deal with them, and the council did not have as much power or resources as it would like to deal with anti-social behaviour.

"I instigated a team of volunteers that go around in the evenings with recycling bags and collect bottles and cans.

"This provides an opportunity to talk to people using the Moor about picking up their litter and protecting the space.

"It is a way of communicating with young people and reduce the problem.

"We have to be realistic, we are not going to solve the problem, but what we are trying to do is reduce it.

"We have 15 volunteers and we have an app, and they can say when they are going out to do a pro-active litter pick.

"In the last few weeks we have collected about 20 recycling bags of litter.

"We have had some young people who will help us when we are picking up litter in the evenings.

"I have spoken to some groups and I have given them a bag and just asked if they can put their rubbish in the bag and then I will collect it later, and that has worked quite well.

"It has got some response from people, they are more willing to practice good litter behaviour.

"I think it is about being pro-active and making them aware of the problem leaving their litter behind has.

"Children come from all over Hemel to Blackbirds Moor to have fun with their friends and sometimes they don't think about taking their rubbish with them, these litter picks remind them to do that, or to put it in the bin.

"The canisters are a problem on the field as well and the police are aware of those.

"We also need to remind people that with the cricket re-starting, the pitches need to be clear of rubbish so they can use them.

"The council have been really supportive and have given us recycling bags, they have also said that we can leave the recycling bags next to the bins and they will still take them away for us.

"I believe they have also been doing extra collections to help take the rubbish away."

A reader sent photos of rubbish left at Heath Park on Saturday morning and Hemel Hempstead Cricket Club' President, who works on the ground daily said that it is a regular problem they have.

Paul Thompson, club president, said: "There's always various litter to clear up and especially on Saturday mornings after Friday night gatherings on our Nursery Ground alongside the River Gade.

"These people, whoever they are, have no respect for anything or anyone, leaving all sorts of detritus and burning the grass off with their BBQ coals (illegal under the Box Moor Trust Bylaws) which they also leave behind."

Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Club Chairperson Richard Grayson, added: "This is a significant problem. Many people come to sit around the area and simply leave their rubbish.

"Worse than that, sometimes bottles are left smashed in ways that can only be deliberate.

"That poses a serious risk to anyone else using the grounds, including a large number of children.

"Boxmoor Cricket Club have perhaps an even worse problem than we do at Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Cclub as their area tends to be used more for activities which lead to litter."

Last month, Hertfordshire Police warned the public about the dangers of nitrous oxide after officers from the Hemel Hempstead North, Rural, West and Central Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) received information about groups of people regularly gathering on Blackbirds Moor, near Boxmoor Cricket Club, where they were inhaling the gas.

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“Not only are the discarded canisters unsightly but young people must realise that this seemingly harmless activity can actually cause serious damage to their health, or worse.

"It is important that we raise awareness of the potential dangers and we ask families to support us by talking to their children about the risks.

“As part of our response to this issue, we are including this area on our patrol plans even more frequently and are working closely with local councillors to crack down on this activity.

“The use of nitrous oxide is not illegal, however selling or giving it away for recreational purposes is prohibited under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

"Those who are found to be doing so can face a fine and a prison sentence of up to seven years.

"If you know of anyone who is supplying nitrous oxide in your area, or have any information such as locations where people regularly take this substance, then please inform police."

You can report information online at herts.police.uk/report, or call the non-emergency number 101.