Ricky wades in against the litter louts

He has collected tonnes of litter of all shapes and sizes, from bottles and cans to an abandoned paddleboard.

Ellesmere's Ricky Roberts has become an unsung hero in the town, spending hours of his time picking up after those who chuck their litter on the floor and in the bushes around the mere.

Most days Ricky will spend some time walking in the Cremorne gardens and beyond with a bag and a litter picker, often accompanied by his partner, Lou Baines.

Last week he even donned a pair of waders to retrieve a bench that had somehow ended up in the mere and a paddleboard, stuck in the rushes for months.

Members of the local community took to the town's facebook page to thank him for his voluntary litter picking.

Mr Roberts, who with Lou runs Daisy Cutter gardening services, said he simply could not understand the mentality of people who did not take their litter home with them.

The amount of litter exploded last summer when the first lockdown was eased and the mere and its gardens became a haven for people keen to get out and about.

He had to buy a new litter picker in August when his first some gave up through over use while another was stolen from outside his house.

As well as litter he said he has found even more unsavoury deposits.

"There was a time when the woods at the back of the mere became a public toilet," he said.

Even now he says he still regularly finds bottles and cans in the undergrowth, the remains of gatherings around the mere despite the current lockdown.

He also said he despairs at the amount of dog owners who do not clean up after their pets not only around the mere but across the town.

As for his venture into the mere he said: "It was cold but nothing that a nice hot bath didn't sort out. And the paddleboard, well that is doubling up as an ironing board."

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