Clean-up begins at old South Yorkshire allotments site where girl was stabbed to death

Litter near to the spot where Leonne Weeks was found dead, before clean-up work began

Work to clean up a litter-plagued footpath in South Yorkshire where a teenage girl was stabbed to death has finally begun.

But the man spearheading efforts to tidy up the walkway and surrounding land in Rotherham, says it is sad it took a tragedy to spark people into action.

The pathway before the clean-up began

Leonne Weeks, aged 16, was found stabbed to death on an alleyway off Victoria Street, Dinnington, in January.

Her death came just months after another teenager was hit over the head there in a chilling attack by a masked 'killer clown' assailant.

Work began recently to clear part of the old allotments site and create a community garden, though the clean-up operation is still in its early stages.

Rotherham Council says members of the local community have been working for years to create a group to improve the site, with the council's support.

Work is underway to create a new community garden close to where Leonne Weeks was found stabbed to death

But Tim Wells, who lives close to the former allotments site, claims he had been calling for action for months and believes it should not have taken so long for something to be done.

"I moved here about two years ago and I've been asking for at least a year for something to be done to clean up the area," he said.

"After the killer clown attack, I realised we had a major issue with the area attracting trouble.

"It's really sad it's taken a tragedy like a girl's death for people to wake up to the problem, but I'm glad something is being done now.

Rotherham Council says it is supporting efforts to improve the site's appearance

"There was fly-tipping all over the site and the path was strewn with litter for a long time. It's been tidied up a bit but more needs to be done.

"I think the path needs a hardcore surface and street lights, and the trees should be cut back to make it lighter."

Mr Wells added that the whole site used to be taken up allotments used by local miners but there were now four different landowners. He wants the private land to be securely fenced off to prevent fly-tipping.

Councillor Emma Hoddinott, Rotherham Council's cabinet member for waste, roads and community safety, said: "The local community has come together to improve this area and recently the Better Dinnington Group signed a 10-year lease to restore the old allotment site and create a community garden.

Leonne Weeks

"This has involved working with the land owners, residents, councillors and various community groups and already there has been a lot of work on the site, clearing it of rubbish and overgrown foliage in readiness for planting.

"The council will continue to work with the local community and talk to them about further support such as enhanced enforcement and lighting options for the site.

"I would urge local residents to get involved and help with the dedicated work to turn this area into a community garden."

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