East Beach left strewn with litter as summer comes to Southend

A child stepped on a barbecue and a councillor put out a fire as the start of summer caused chaos on Shoebury’s East Beach.

Several days of sunshine have seen hordes descend on Shoebury beach, leaving behind piles of rubbish and burning barbecues

Reports on social media suggested a child stepped on a burning barbecue, “melting his jelly shoes”.

And Shoebury councillor Steven Ward turned firefighter as he put out a bin fire after a smouldering barbecue was dumped in it.

He said: “On Sunday somebody threw a lit barbecue into one of the bins and it caught fire. I had to put it out.

“This is why I back a bid to ban barbecues which we are consulting on at the moment.

“The rubbish has been reported and it is being dealt with, but I’m going down to check it out and if the rubbish is still there I will be very angry.

“We know there is a challenge there.”

Pictures of a trail of devastation were posted on Shoebury Residents Association’s Facebook page, along with reports of “disgusting amounts of litter” everywhere, new toilets left filthy, broken bottles and glass in children’s play areas.

Last summer, similar incidents plagued the area, and a child’s feet were injured after stepping on burning sand heated up by a barbecue.

Resident Lauren Payne said: “I walked my dogs over East Beach. I was shocked at the state of it.

“Rubbish everywhere, I had to pull my dog away from a dirty nappy left on the back field, bins full and rubbish all around them.

“Ash and barbecues everywhere. Something really needs to be done about our beautiful beach.”

The council is making a £2 million investment in East Beach to build a new surfaced car park, refurbished toilets and new lighting.

Peter Lovett, vice-chairman of Shoebury Residents Association, said: “I seem to write to the council every day. They want to put a dog beach on East Beach, they put barbecues here. Everything goes to East Beach and it’s looking like a tip.

“What’s the point of investing that money when you have a new barbecue table and they put a barbecue on it and its ruined two days later. All of our tables are burnt?”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter