A multi-agency operation has been launched to clean up part of a County Durham village.
Durham County Council and partners including Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, have begun work at the numbered streets area of Horden to address issues including large amounts of rubbish being left in alleys and back yards.
Work began last week with assistance from the fire service and police community support officers, with door knocking to advise of the initiative and to encourage residents to take action themselves.
With financial support from Horden Colliery Residents Association and local members, work began this week to provide bins to people who do not have them and to carry out pest control.
Teams are clearing waste from alleyways and yards, with residents and landlords helping with this activity on Monday, and closing off open drainage systems.
Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of direct services, said: “The clean up across the numbered streets in Horden has already seen some dramatic improvements, and is being welcomed by residents, a number of whom were helping out on Monday.
“The next stage of this initiative will be to ensure buildings in the area are as secure as possible, which will not only help to improve public safety and reduce arson, but also to cut the amount of fly-tipping in those which are empty.
“Working with partners, we will be engaging with residents and landlords over the coming weeks to explore ways of achieving this.”
Local member Cllr June Clark, one of those to provide funding for the work through her neighbourhood budget, added: “I am absolutely delighted by the work that has gone on.
“The challenge now will be to help keep the area looking as tidy as possible.
“Residents and landlords have a key role to play in this, and I look forward to further engagement with all interested parties to ensure we build on the momentum we have gained.”
Pat Barnett, chair of the residents association, said: “We are delighted to be involved with this multi-agency project, which has proved to be so very successful in its early stages.
“Working alongside local residents in cleaning up the area will hopefully encourage a more pro-active response to reporting future fly-tipping.”
The fire and rescue service’s district manager for Easington Phil Innes said: “Fire crews are actively supporting the initiative in Horden this week and encourage members of the community to ensure any rubbish they would like removing is made available to the teams.
“Fire crews will also be carrying out Safe and Wellbeing visits and fitting free smoke detectors, please make sure you have working smoke detectors in your property and either request a visit from the crews or call 0845 223 4221.”