Hedgehogs and hypodermic needles - student journalists explore prickly issue of waste blighting Sheffield

Workers at Cawthorne Hedgehod Rescue Centre say they treat many animals injured by tin cans and plastic four-pack rings

Workers at Cawthorne Hedgehod Rescue Centre say they treat many animals injured by tin cans and plastic four-pack rings

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Journalism students at the University of Sheffield yesterday threw their weight behind The Star's Pride in Our City campaign by spending the day investigating littering and fly-tipping. Here's what they found...

Mattresses and bicycles, hypodermic needles and baby carriers. Tyres in front of schools, hedgehogs trapped in litter.

An armchair found dumped in Abbeydale Road

An armchair found dumped in Abbeydale Road

A group of student journalists from the University of Sheffield found all of these things, and more, during a day of intrepid sifting through the waste.

We decided to put our weight behind the Star’s Pride in our City campaign to clean up our communities. To do this, we spent a day reporting on litter and waste in the city and surrounding area.

We knew that rubbish was an issue, but what we didn’t realise was just how badly it’s blighting whole areas of the city.

Guided by tip-offs from Star readers and BBC Radio Sheffield listeners, we found the old ski

Litter in Page Hall

Litter in Page Hall

village in Parkwood beset by trash and industrial waste.

We also found the Page Hall and Darnall areas of the city covered in plastic bags and food wrappers.

Elsewhere, we were led to a worryingly high number of hypodermic needles carpeting Park Hill, although council workers were busy clearing them up when our reporter was on the scene.

Another reporter spotted two thirds of a three piece suite stranded half-way down Abbeydale Road, and we also spoke to the management of a special needs school down in Rotherham where parents are growing more and more concerned about the serious risk flytipping poses to their children.

A syringe found in Park Hill

A syringe found in Park Hill

But it wasn’t all rubbish: we also found people with innovative solutions to the problem.

From a shop owner who’s recycling shipping containers to make affordable EcoHomes, to women opting for reusable sanitary items - these are the people fighting to make Sheffield a cleaner place.

Just up the road, Anita and Allan Broadhead run Cawthorne Hedgehog Rescue centre, which comes complete with its own “hogsprickle” to treat animals injured by tin cans and plastic four-pack rings.

We also met the TimeBuilders community group who were busy litter-picking on the Ponderosa in Crookesmoor.

A motorbike and tyres dumped in Darnall

A motorbike and tyres dumped in Darnall

They are part of a larger group - the Sheffield Litter Pickers - who regularly gather to pick up waste around the city.

Susan Tavernor, who set up their Facebook page said: “I actually enjoy the litter picking, it gives a real sense of achievement.”

The community activists we spoke to told us there is an overwhelming sense of ‘people power’ in Sheffield.

Jon Johnson, owner of upcycling business Strip the Willow, told us: “Everybody can do their bit to cut down on the amount of stuff we needlessly buy every year and needlessly throw away- it’s a state of mind thing really.”

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