Tankerton beach blocked off and declared 'crime scene' in Southern Water sewage dump protest

Tap to watch a video report from ITV News Meridian's Joe Coshan

A popular beach in Kent has been declared a crime scene by campaigners angry at Southern Water's record on dumping sewage in the sea.

The protest at Tankerton Beach was organised by SOS Whitstable who say more needs to be down to tackle raw waste ending up in the water.

It was held to mark a year since the group started raising concerns about the discharges.

The large turnout saw placards calling to 'Stop The Plop' and to 'Stop Dumping Sewage'.

There was a large turnout at the event on Sunday Credit: ITV Meridian

Former boxing world champion Barry McGuigan MBE joined the peaceful demonstration, he told ITV News:

"What Southern Water are doing with sewage in this area is absolutely appalling and I've lived here 33 years and this is the worst it's ever been.

"So I'm behind these people 100%. Can you believe that, 2022 they haven't a more productive way of dealing with sewage. It's appalling."

Hundreds of people were at the protest Credit: ITV Meridian

Southern Water has been criticised over recent years with the company being fined a record £90 million in July last year over sewage spills.

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield said, "We need to make sure that the, the companies and the shareholders pay the price and not that the price of all of this goes onto customers bills."

It's causing damage to the environment, to the local economy. And of course, the public health of swimmers.

Ed Acteson from the campaign group said,

"Not enough has changed over the last year despite all the promises that it would change. So we've come back to let it be known that we're not going away and we're going to keep on doing this until things improve."

A spokesperson for Southern Water said:

"We understand the concerns of those who are due to be protesting at the weekend.

"Protecting the environment is a key priority for us and we are leading the water industry in developing solutions to reduce our reliance on permitted storm overflows.

Southern Water. Credit: PA

"These are the combined sewage system's pressure valve at times of increased rainfall, to avoid flooding people's homes and communities - but we agree that these are not an acceptable measure.

"Working in partnership with councils and other stakeholders we are finding ways to remove rainfall from the sewage network, utilising Southern Water engineering and nature-based solutions.

"We already engage extensively with campaign groups and will continue to do that at every available opportunity."