THE Environment Agency has led a blitz on a riverside rubbish dump in Bideford. The ancient port boasts many attractions, but also had a prominent eyesore - unsightly riverside rubbish opposite the town s quay. So many complaints were received about fly-t

THE Environment Agency has led a blitz on a riverside rubbish dump in Bideford.The ancient port boasts many attractions, but also had a prominent eyesore - unsightly riverside rubbish opposite the town's quay.So many complaints were received about fly-tipping at the Clarence Wharf car park on the eastern riverbank that the Environment Agency last week led a clean-up of the area in partnership with the town's harbourmaster and staff from the Heritage Coast and Countryside Service. In operation for the first time was Bideford's new £220,000 harbourside crane, bought by the district council.Among bulky items of rubbish it helped to remove were an old solid-fuel oven, bicycles, a double drainer sink, beer barrels, water tanks, cages and all manner of other illegally-dumped items.Chris Pedlar of the Environment Agency said: "What people have been doing is reversing their vehicles up to the quayside and tipping rubbish over the edge into the river, which is illegal. It's surprising what is dumped."The unofficial dump is only a short distance from Brunswick Wharf, where the historic schooner Kathleen and May is moored. The ship is the last remaining wooden three-masted topsail schooner in the country and is a popular tourist attraction. The Tarka Trail footpath and cycle route is also nearby.Harbourmaster Roger Hoad said: "It was a brilliant clean-up operation organised in co-operation with the Environment Agency. That side of the river has not been this smooth for 30 years. It's fantastic."He also welcomed the arrival of the new crane from Portishead suppliers Hydrex.Efficient"Maintenance costs will be lower with the new crane. It is easier to drive and much more efficient than the old one. It is available for boat-lifts and general lifting as well," he said.The crane has an eco-friendly, quiet, low emissions engine with a maximum lift of 20 tonnes. Harbour Board chairman Cllr Bob Hicks said: "We needed this new crane to maintain the port's ability to continue to trade. It was a business decision which will enable the port of Bideford to continue to move forward."www.northdevon.gov.uk