Row erupts over risque clean-up campaign


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The Independent Online

A landowner has offended villagers by launching a clean-up campaign with posters reading "Don't be a tosser! Take your litter home".

One-woman litter-picking machine Jo Riddell has fixed the printed yellow notices on the road leading to her Grade II listed home on the Cheeseburn Estate, in Stamfordham, Northumberland.

But her local parish council has protested, branding the signs "an eyesore" and more offensive than the rubbish to which they refer.

It has demanded the signs be taken down.

Mrs Riddell, 49, a mother of three, said she had collected 27 bags of rubbish from the estate since the start of the month, containing condoms, needles, pornographic videos, bottles, cans, plastic and paper.

She said enough was enough.

"I am a mother myself and would never set out to upset children," she told The Journal in Newcastle.

"Surely these piles of rubbish are more offensive to people than my sign?"

Mrs Riddell said she got the idea from a sign she saw on a beach in Australia that read "Don't be a bloody tosser - take your rubbish home".

She said: "I had no idea it also meant something else over here. I just thought it meant twit.

"When my friend saw it she said 'gosh you're brave' and told me about the slang. I was a bit shocked and looked it up on Google."

Mrs Riddell, who has been married to agricultural company managing director Simon for 24 years, said the estate was a "little bit of England" and if no-one else would take responsibility to keep it clean then she would.

She was inspired by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who said: "Be the change you would like to see in the world."