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From street bins to Russian bug spray - the strangest items to wash up on our shores

PUBLISHED: 10:17 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 13 March 2020

The Peterborough City Council that was found at Blakeney Point in November 2019. Picture: Norfolk Coast National Trust

The Peterborough City Council that was found at Blakeney Point in November 2019. Picture: Norfolk Coast National Trust

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A council bin from Peterborough, a can of Russian bug spray and 26 helium balloons are among the weirdest items washed up on East Anglian beaches, the National Trust has revealed.

A beach clean at Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk. Picture: National Trust Images/Rob StothardA beach clean at Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk. Picture: National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

The conservation charity, which looks after 780 miles of coastline, has released a list of 20 of weird and wonderful finds as part of a campaign to encourage people to help tackle plastic pollution and reduce their carbon footprint.

Among them were a council's street bin that travelled 70 miles along the River Nene from Peterborough to Blakeney Point, famed for its grey seal population, in November last year.

The bin, dubbed 'Pete' by trust staff, was returned to its home constituency after a social media campaign to find its owner.

Phil Dyke, the trust's coastal specialist, said: 'It's fascinating to hear of the unusual things that land on our beaches, whether they're relics from history or objects that have travelled thousands of miles.

Helium balloons found on the beach in Suffolk. Picture: National Trust Images/Glen PearceHelium balloons found on the beach in Suffolk. Picture: National Trust Images/Glen Pearce

'But as weird and wonderful as these items are, they tell a more serious story about the permanent nature of plastic, and the constant deluge of marine litter arriving on our shores.

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'No one in the UK lives more than 75 miles from the coast, so whether we're in the city or the country, everything we do impacts on the health of our seas.'

Mr Dyke said he believed public attitudes to the environment were changing.

Russian bug spray found on the beach in Suffolk. Picture: National Trust Images/Glen PearceRussian bug spray found on the beach in Suffolk. Picture: National Trust Images/Glen Pearce

He said: 'The good news is that there has been a surge in public awareness in recent years - with more people joining beach cleans and swapping from single-use materials. Even small actions like using less packaging and picking up litter can make a difference. We've all got a part to play in helping our seas recover.'

The fly spray from Russia and helium balloons were all found at Orford Ness in Suffolk.

Other strange items washed up in other parts of the country include 19th, 20th and 21st century shoes at Orford Ness, piles of broccoli and carrots at Merseyside and tiny plastic soldiers in Cumbria.

Washed-up items which the trust believes have crossed the globe include a research buoy from Canada, aerosol from Saudi Arabia, a sonar device made in Texas and plastic debris covered in goose barnacles that had likely drifted from the Caribbean.

Beach rubbish found on the beach at Orford Ness in Suffolk. Picture: National Trust/Glen PearceBeach rubbish found on the beach at Orford Ness in Suffolk. Picture: National Trust/Glen Pearce

To find a local beach clean visit nationaltrust.org.uk/beach-cleans.

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