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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Ex-Carlisle street cleaner throws down man v machine challenge to council

Former street cleaner John Shaw is offering to take on a mechanical sweeper in a bizarre man-versus-machine challenge to clean up Carlisle streets.

John Shaw photo
John Shaw

The 46-year-old used to clean the Botcherby estate but quit the job, he says, because council bosses complained he was collecting too much rubbish.

He has campaigned to clean up Botcherby ever since.

His latest efforts landed him in hot water at the Civic Centre this week.

He was escorted from the council chamber after he brandished a bag of dog mess at astonished councillors and exchanged heated words with the environment portfolio holder Elsie Martlew.

Mr Shaw, of Merith Avenue, Botcherby, told the News & Star: “I have apologised. I lost my cool.

“I brought the dog fouling in to show them that their cleaners haven’t picked it up. It’s all what I collected in Botcherby the previous week.

“I’ve been talking to some of the council lads who said it wasn’t in their contract to pick it up.

“People pay their council tax and they should get a good service.”

Mrs Martlew told him that the council’s new Labour administration had made street cleaning a top priority.

It is investing an extra £85,00 for two years and buying new street-cleaning machinery.

Mr Shaw said: “I’ll give her until next year.

“If it doesn’t get done right and she’s wasted all that money, I would like to challenge one of these new machines. I would go against a Scarab [a type of street cleaner]. I would show them.”

 

Mr Shaw, who changed his surname from Martin by deed poll following a family dispute, was a well-known figure when he worked on the estate in 2006 and 2007.

He was so good at his job that Maggie Mooney, the council’s chief executive, invited him to have tea with her and council leader Mike Mitchelson at the Civic Centre.

Mr Shaw said: “I was getting 20 to 30 bags full every day and would go home with blisters on my hand.

“They said I was bringing in too much rubbish. They wanted me to cut down.

The council declined to comment on his claim that its cleaners were not required to pick up dog fouling.

A spokeswoman said: “Mr Shaw was employed by the council as a maintenance operative street cleaning, in February 2006, and resigned after a year’s employment for alternative employment.

“He was always enthusiastic about his work and was awarded a certificate of achievement by the chief executive.”

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