Sailors mobilised for clean-up of beauty spot

Crew from HMS Richmond, plus sailors from Devonport Naval Base, rallied volunteers to sweep along Tregantle Beach near Torpoint and rid it of the latest rubbish deposited on the once-pristine sands by the ocean.

The beach sits at the western end of Whitsand Bay beneath Tregantle Fort, which is still regularly used by Royal Navy and Royal Marines for live firing.

As a result access to the shore is limited – especially for vehicles – which largely rules out the council collecting rubbish.

Keeping Tregantle clear of rubbish is a labour of love for 35-year-old Chief Petty Officer who organises regular clean-ups (including another matelot-heavy one last spring when he was serving at nearby HMS Raleigh).

Last May we managed to clear 45 full bags of rubbish, over two tons of plastic rope

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The gunner is now assigned to frigate HMS Richmond, undergoing refit in Devonport, allowing him to still enjoy walking his dog at Tregantle and organise sweeps with the added musclepower of shipmates.

Tregantle suffers particularly from regular dumps of ‘nurdles’, – small pellets used in plastic production while eagle-eyed litter-pickers can sometimes find pieces of Lego lost at sea after a cargo spill off Land’s End more than 20 years ago.

On top of that there is rubbish and plastics from the local community washed up and, in summer, trash left behind by beachgoers.

“The pattern of the tides here means we get all sorts of plastic washed up on to the sand – last May we managed to clear 45 full bags of rubbish, over two tons of plastic rope, masses of fishing equipment, and even plastic shot-gun cartridges, which floated across the Atlantic from a shooting competition on the cliffs in Canada,” Craig explained.

“That’s the problem with such a wide and open beach like this, even after our biggest and most effective clean-up, a high tide will mean it’s back to where it was before within days.”

He can arrange the safe access of cars through the Ministry of Defence firing range which borders the beach, so that the collected litter can be taken away.

“Because the beach can only be accessed on foot, the council can’t get access to clear up the rubbish, so after a storm, or a sunny weekend, it can accumulate,” he added.