RUBBISH weighing the equivalent of a blue whale’s tongue has been collected from roadside verges in Craven by council officers since early April.

Amongst the three tonnes of rubbish was a bag containing keys, money and ID, which had been lost from the back of a motorbike and which has now been returned to the owner.

The annual spring clean of verges along main highways carried out by Craven District Council began on April 6 and is due to run for about two months.

Tracy McLuckie, the council’s environmental services manager, said: “Our teams are working hard around the district to ensure Craven looks at its best for residents and visitors.

“Unfortunately there has been a huge amount of litter left by thoughtless drivers along our roads this year. We have even had a couple of drivers throw litter out of their car window while passing the crews.”

She added: “We have to plan this clean-up programme carefully as it can be dangerous working on the verges of busy roads, and we need to create a rolling road closure to protect staff. We ask drivers to be patient and considerate, and of course we would urge people not to drop litter and fly-tip in the first place.”

The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 states that if a person drops, throws, deposits, or leaves anything that causes defacement in a public place, they are committing a littering offence. People caught littering can be issued with a fixed penalty notice. Failure to pay will result in prosecution, so always try to use a litter bin or take it home.

If groups would like to organise or take part in a litter-pick event or community clean-up, Craven District Council can help by providing free refuse sacks, gloves, litter-pickers and free collection of the rubbish.

Contact waste management services on 01756 700600, or email for more information. Waste management is also supporting Aire Rivers Trust with its DNAire Project to clean up the River Aire.