LITTER picking volunteers subject to a torrent of verbal abuse by council contractors in Leamington have received an apology.
Leam Trash Friends had organised three days clearing rubbish in June with a team from local businesses who gave their time for free.
After volunteers collected the waste it was due to be picked up and disposed of by Warwick District Council street cleaning contractors Veolia.
But the two staff members who arrived on the railway bridge on Prospect Road, just off Sydenham Drive, stunned volunteers when they began to swear at them.
And one told them “It’s people like you doing us out of work”.
The onslaught of verbal abuse was witnessed by the Observer’s photographer who was with the litter pickers at the time.
It is understood after an investigation by Veolia, one of the staff was dismissed and another given a verbal warning by the company.
Warwick District Council said: “Due to the nature of the allegations made, Veolia undertook a full, independent investigation into the behaviour of their staff. The outcome of which resulted in immediate action being taken in response to the incident.
“Warwick District Council does not tolerate or condone any form of verbal abuse from our staff or contractors and we are deeply saddened this incident took place.
“We have offered an unreserved apology to those involved.”
Leam Trash Friends – which works to clear up rubbish and used drug paraphernalia from across the district – has been fund-raising to buy its own van to remove waste since the incident. So far some £750 has been raised.
A group spokesman said: “We welcome the response and apology direct from Veolia. We are due to meet council officers soon where we hope to receive an unreserved formal apology – at present our apology from them is on a document.
“We also hope to address the causes of the incident during this meeting.
“We are calling on the council to match our fundraising to cover the cost of a van so we do not have to rely on WDC or its contractors.”
Visit www.gofundme.com/street-clearance to donate.