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Inside Politics with Michael Wilkinson: The secret bin raiders of Gloucester

By citizenmike  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

By Mike Wilkinson, Public Affairs reporter

insidepolitics

Inside Politics with Michael Wilkinson

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EVERY day another bin rummager comes along and another passer by watches on curious, half wishing they hadn’t see a glimpse into this underworld.

For two months now I have watched on as countless individuals trawl through the city’s rubbish bins looking for anything they can get their hands on – scraps of food, old clothes, or other assorted objects such as wood and furniture.

Other people’s reaction to this behaviour is almost as fascinating. Nearly everyone who claps eyes on the bin rummagers can’t help but take a second look. And a third. And a fourth. One woman who was loading a vehicle last Sunday looked back at one man at least a dozen times. From afar it looked as if she wanted to do something to help but at the same time didn’t want to get involved.

Last week we heard that Gloucester Foodbank is under threat of closure if it does not find a new home soon.

When I see a man munching through leftovers from a commercial waste bin on a Sunday afternoon as if he’s tucking into a delicious Sunday roast, I know there is a serious problem in this city.

I’ve even been confronted with a man half submerged in my own bin at home who quickly told me ‘it’s not your bin anyway’ before scurrying off.

It has been argued that some people actually choose this existence. Perhaps some do, but for the most part I can hardly believe that to be the case.

One of the more interesting scenarios was what seemed to be a husband and wife rifling through a skip together. They even brought along the family pooch and two push trolleys to lighten the load.

I hope the Citizen highlighting what is happening in our city’s back streets will be a force for good. Who will dare stick their head above the parapet and actually do something about it? Will any politician speak about the issue? Or will it be left to hard-pressed voluntary groups (who are having their local authority funding slashed) to pick up the pieces?

Putting locks on the bins will put pay to the bin rummagers, but it won’t solve the real problem.

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6 comments

  • Raccoon  |  April 05 2014, 2:25PM

    Yes, I stand corrected. We raccoons should know that there's nothing wrong with having a rummage.

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  • RoadWombat  |  March 29 2014, 5:02PM

    Sorry, Raccoon - there's third type. Those of us who find wood for the wood burner, bits and pieces to sell on ebay and (if you've watched Antiques Roadshow etc.) the remote chance of something quite valuable. Can't resist a good rummage through a skip!

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  • honslknjklyt  |  March 29 2014, 4:16PM

    The one who roots through the bins in the town centre is on the scav for discarded cigarette ends.

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  • Raccoon  |  March 29 2014, 3:39PM

    So freegans are people who watch Jeremy Kyle on their 52 inch plasma TVs? Nonsense! Such people wouldn't stoop to using second-hand goods, let alone rummaging in bins. There are only two types of people who rummage in bins - the very poor or destitute, and those who want to help the planet by reusing and recycling. Why are there usable things in the bins in the first place? Wastefulness.

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  • Walker100e  |  March 29 2014, 9:28AM

    With people on benefits able to receive money for rent, council tax and, of course, the weekly cash payouts, can the worldly wise Michael Wilkinson explain exactly what else he'd like the hard pressed tax payer to fork out for? These are not issues of need they are issues of want. I see this every single day of the week in my work. People on benefits choosing to fill up their recycling boxes with cans and bottles empty of booze. Smoking heavily while watching Jeremy Kyle on their 52" plasma TV. Homelessness and bin raiding are not issues of need, they are life choices. Certainly there may be mental health and social issues involved but simply chucking additional cash at a problem rarely makes it go away. In my opinion it usually sees new charities and council departments formed with CEOs appointed on 6 figure salaries.

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  • JemmyWood  |  March 28 2014, 3:42PM

    You won't get any support from Dick Graham Mike, his views on foodbanks etc are well known and documented, especially voting against supporting them in Parliament. It is a sad sight to see and proof that in a modern society it is still a major problem.... one Gloucester's current MP wants nothing to do with.

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