Trio hailed as local heroes after tackling notorious fly tipping eyesore at Burnley beauty spot

A trio of lifelong pals have become an overnight sensation and hailed as local heroes after taking it upon themselves to clear a beauty spot in Burnley blighted by fly tipping on an 'industrial scale.'

Monday, 14th September 2020, 3:14 pm
Updated Monday, 14th September 2020, 3:16 pm

The three, who are Damion Whitton, Bruce-Lee Knowles and Chris 'Kipper' Taylor, call themselves Northern Monkeys. In just four days they have managed to fill a staggering 400 bags of rubbish after they set to work on the site in Cliviger that has become a dumping ground for rubbish in recent years.

As news of the magnificent efforts of this modern day 'A team' spread on social media, they have been inundated with messages of support, praise and offers of help to tackle the mountain of rubbish and other items including mattresses, fridge freezers and furniture that has all been dumped illegally on a large wooded area next to a lay-by in Bacup Road.

Damion (38) said: "As soon we saw this site all three of us just said 'we can sort this.' We are Burnley lads, this is our hometown and we hate to see something like this.

Explorers turned eco warriors, that's the Northern Monkeys who are Damion Whitton (centre) Chris 'Kipper' Taylor (left) and Bruce-Lee Knowles

"This is an incredibly beautiful area with so much history and it is being ruined by this fly tipping.

"The amount of rubbish we have collected is unbelievable, why would anyone just dump their rubbish here?"

A local resident claimed the problem was exacerbated in April when dozens of trees were planted which helped to encourage unscrupulous people to dump rubbish in the area as it was now screened.

Confusion over who owns the land means the rubbish has built up over the years and Burnley Council has been working in partnership with Lancashire County Council to find a safe way of clearing the site which rests on a steep slope. Since the friends started the clean up Burnley Council has taken away all the rubbish collected by them at no charge.

The lads hard at work dragging a fridge freezer from the site

Northern Monkeys was launched in April as the pandemic set in and the lads found themselves without work as plasterers. Calling themselves explorers the friends have visited several historic sites and places of interest across the UK.

The group has its own facebook page which now has over 2, 700 members keen to see the latest pictures and videos of the 'monkey's' latest adventures. And as news spread of their magnificent efforts in Cliviger they have been inundated with messages of support from grateful residents and also people across the UK for their enterprising spirit.

Damion said: "The response to what we are doing here in Cliviger has been overwhelming but it goes to show that people do care about their countryside and environment.

"But we are the first ones to actually get stuck into this and do something about it."

A shocking image of how the beauty spot was blighted by fly tipping before the Northern Monkeys stepped in

Plans are now on the cards for a volunteer day this weekend at the site.

Thirty-year-old Bruce, a fomer student of Park High School, Colne, added: "So many people have said they want to help so let's see if they are willing to get stuck into this like us."

In a bid to curb the fly tipping Lancashire Police have installed cameras in the lay-by that records number plates of all vehicles stopping there.

But Chris, who is 34 and attended Burnley's former Towneley High School, warned that this has simply moved the culprits further up the road, adding: "They have started to dump rubbish on a site close to the next lay-by so the main problem is not being tackled, it is just being moved on.

"Something really needs to be done to stop this."