'It's disappointing' - Anger as crab pots used for beach bonfire

Charred crab pots on Overstrand beach

The burnt ghost gear, Maggie Wilcox and her husband Simon Dendy discovered when they visited Overstrand beach over the bank holiday weekend. - Credit: Maggie Wilcox

A woman has urged people to take care of the environment after a group of crab pots she and her husband collected from the beach were set on fire.

Since the start of the pandemic, Maggie Wilcox and her husband Simon Dendy have been collecting ghost gear - lost crab pots and fishing equipment - which washes up on the shore at Overstrand, in North Norfolk.

The couple, who live in the village, remove the pots, which over time break down polluting the marine environment, from the beach and take them to public bins where they are then collected by North Norfolk District Council for disposal.

Simon Dendy and Maggie Wilcox on Overstrand beach

Simon Dendy and Maggie Wilcox on Overstrand beach - Credit: Maggie Wilcox

Recently, the couple had collected too much ghost gear to carry off the beach in one go, so had stored the pots near a rock embankment, with the plan to return to the beach with a trolley to help them carry away later. But when the couple arrived at the beach on Monday, May 3, they discovered the pots had been set on fire.

The couple found the pots, covered in melted plastic and surrounded by discarded beer cans and empty bottles leading them to believe someone had used them for a bonfire.


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Ms Willcox, 60, said she was both angered and disappointed by the sight and the disregard for the environment shown by those responsible for the fire.

She said: "People said they could smell it burning.

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"They are polluting the air, they are releasing toxins from burning the plastic and it becomes an issue because we ended up with shards of metal from all the beer cans so it's a hazard."

Charred crab pots on Overstrand beach

The burnt ghost gear Maggie Wilcox and her husband Simon Dendy discovered when they visited Overstrand beach over the bank holiday weekend. - Credit: Maggie Wilcox

Ms Wilcox said it was "frustrating" because there were "lots of people" in the community who were careful to respect the environment and care for it.

After finding the pots the couple removed them from the beach because the tide was coming in.

She said: "We are working hard to get this rubbish off the beach. It's disappointing seeing people being so disrespectful to the environment and the village as well.

"We all need to be guardians of the sea and the countryside and we just all need to contribute."



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