PUPILS were confronted with a tide of litter as they turned up to find their playing field had been labelled an “enviro-crime scene”.
The jaw-dropping stunt was part of Thorpe Hesley Primary School’s new project focusing on conservation and the environment, including the impact of littering and the benefits of recycling.
Staff had collected the rubbish during the summer holidays before spreading it around the fields and using enviro-crime tape to declare it off-limits.
Katie Dawson, school office manager, said the carpet of litter had had the desired effect.
“There were shocked reactions from the children, especially when two police community support officers turned up in a squad car to investigate the ‘crime scene’,” she said.
She added: “Some of the parents thought it might have been fly-tipping so it certainly got people talking.
“A couple of children were speaking to the police, saying they had not seen anything last night so it must have happened overnight, while one pupil pointed out how it was lucky the litter wasn’t on our wildlife area.”
Pupils will pick up the litter in year groups, with each designated a type of rubbish, which they will turn into new artwork.
Pictures of various items of litter will be shared on the school’s Twitter profile and pupils will be encourage to “investigate” where the litter came from, and there will be guest speakers talking about the impact of litter, as well as the risk of being fined.
Katie added: “We are also looking at ‘problem areas’ within our local community and feeding this back to the council so they can provide stencils and signage to support our quest for a cleaner environment.”
She said the playground stunt had been to put the spotlight on littering as one of many aspects of their studies around conservation.
“Part of our ethos is that we are creating the citizens of the future so we want them to consider how, as the future generation, what could happen if we don’t look after the environment,” Katie added.