ATEAM of volunteers helped clear up 16 bags of rubbish from Southend’s High Street as part of a clean-up campaign.

Shop workers, councillors, council officers, and residents banded together to collect bags of cigarette butts, paper, cans, and bottles.

Littering in Essex is estimated to cost taxpayers £17million a year.

Staff from McDonald’s and KFC also helped out on the day.

Angela Freeman, who works at KFC said: “The only way we’re going to defeat the litter problem is for everyone to get involved. This means local businesses, residents, schools and communities working together to change behaviour and realise that dropping litter is just not acceptable.”

Marc Morley, from McDonald's, added: “A clean street is good for business and tourism, but better still it is gives people a great sense of pride.”

The initiative forms part of the Love Essex Hate Litter campaign have been prominently displayed in Southend and throughout neighbouring areas.

The campaign – supported by Southend Council in partnership with Cory Environmental – urges residents, visitors and businesses to take responsibility for tackling littering. Much of cost of collecting litter is spent picking up rubbish that didn’t find its way into the nearest bin.

Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for waste, said: “We’re all fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country – a place where six million people a year come to enjoy everything Southend has to offer.

“We want to make sure Southend is clean and tidy so residents are proud of their streets, and visitors can enjoy our lovely borough.

“The Love Essex Hate Litter campaign has had fantastic support.

Now we need to make the extra commitment to tackling litter together.

“It was great to see today’s joint litter-picking efforts. At the same time we would like to remind residents and visitors that there are many bins in the High Street which have dual sections for litter which can be recycled.”