Container full of nappies and sanitary products washes up on North Devon beach

The scene at Bucks Mills on Monday, where a shipping container containing nappies and sanitary produ

The scene at Bucks Mills on Monday, where a shipping container containing nappies and sanitary products washed up and spilled its contents. Picture: Rob Anthony - Credit: Rob Anthony

A recovery operation is under way after containers full of sanitary products washed up on the North Devon coast.

A container washed up at Bucks Mills on Monday (October 26), spilling nappies and sanitary items across the beach.

Authorities were called to the scene, where they were helped by local beach cleaners who helped move items away from the water’s edge.

It was followed by another container washing up at Lynmouth on Tuesday.

It follows an incident in the Bristol Channel which saw 11 shipping containers lost from a container ship on October 20.

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Of those containers, six were empty and five contained non-hazardous cargo.

HM Coastguard continues to monitor the incident, and other agencies involved include the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) counter pollution team, Trinity House, the ship’s insurers and a number of commercial contractors, including chartered vessels engaged in searching and recovery.

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The MCA has been conducting flights over the affected area to assist in the tracking of containers still adrift.

Janet Williams, environmental health and community safety manager at Torridge District Council said the situation at Bucks Mills is ‘in hand’.

She said: “The council is committed to protecting our beautiful coastline and we immediately instigated our emergency response procedures - the public should be assured that this matter is in hand.

“There may be local disruption to access and parking at Bucks Mill while the clean-up works are being carried out, but access to the SW coastal path will be maintained.

“We remain in contact with the MCA regarding any further groundings in our district and we really appreciate the public’s understanding in this matter.”

One of the volunteers who spent two hours moving some of the cargo at Bucks Mills was Rob Anthony.

He said: “I got there and saw it was just full of nappies and sanitary products and I thought I’m going to have to help because this is not good.

“My first thought was ‘this is horrific’. Nappies take hundreds of years to decompose and it’s things like that which are worrying.”

Plastic Free North Devon has warned that big swells expected in the coming days could mean products are found across the North Devon coast.

A post from the group said products had already been found at Greencliff, Abbotsham, Clovelly, Bideford Bay and Westward Ho!.

Members of the public wishing to report a sighting are asked to contact Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre by calling 01326 317575 or my emailing

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