Leith litter pickers find stolen motorbike

James Levis with Anarkali, 3 at the Leith Litter Pick. Picture: Toby Williams.
James Levis with Anarkali, 3 at the Leith Litter Pick. Picture: Toby Williams.
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EAGLE-eyed litter pickers turned crime fighters on their latest Leith excursion - reuniting a stolen motorbike with its owner.

Up to 60 volunteers took to trawling the streets on Saturday for the Leithers Don’t Litter organised clean-up on Earth Day.

And among cans and crisp packets, the group spotted the bike, shopping trolleys and a car engine - while one lucky eight-year-old found a £10 note.

“It was a pretty big turnout and we collected about 60 bags of rubbish,” said organiser Zsuzsa Farrell, 49. “But we didn’t expect to find a stolen motorbike.”

The group came across the chance discovery on waste ground near a car park at Sandport Industrial Estate.

“We were clearing up and noticed the bike,” said Zsuzsa. “The police officers with us must have recognised the plates of something because they were able to contact the owner and then waited for him to come and get it.”

Six police officers were joined by residents and members of Edinburgh Tool Library, while the city council provided sacks and litter pickers.

Starting from Leith Market, the group broke into five teams before embarking on a two-and-a-half hour tour of duty.

“There were a lot of cans, crisp packets and plastic bottles,” said Zsuzsa. “But we found a lot of fly-tipping too, including shopping trolleys and a car engine full of oil.

“Litter picks are really important because they bring the community together - though the ultimate objective is to prevent littering in the first place.

“One of our youngest pickers was an eight-year-old girl who found a tenner!”

Formed two years ago, community group Leithers Don’t Litter’s latest outing was timed to coincide with Earth Day, an environmental awareness campaign.

Sacks of collected rubbish were handed to city council staff for sorting of recyclable waste.

The group even had refreshments in biodegradable cartons - donated by Dalry-based eco-friendly packaging firm Vegware.

Other campaigns from Leithers Don’t Litter have included encouraging dog walkers to stick their pet’s mess in bins.

“I came up with the idea of Leithers Don’t Litter in August 2015 out of frustration at the sound of my own voice complaining about litter,” said Zsuzsa.

“I wanted to do something about it because Leith is an active community with a really great spirit.

“I think people are really proud of their area which is why we came up with the name Leithers Don’t Litter.

“I moved here from Hungary four years ago and I was surprised at the amount of litter here - Hungary is a lot cleaner.”

Green Leith councillor Chas Booth joined litter pickers and thanked organisers Leithers Don’t Litter.

“It was a really good turnout from different voluntary groups, social enterprises, community groups and ordinary Leithers,” said Cllr Booth.

“It was a fantastic afternoon, lots of litter was picked up and the sun shone on Leith.”

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk