30,000 shopping trolleys found abandoned in Sunderland over the last two years

The public have been warned they face penalties if they remove trollies. Credit: PA images

More than 30,000 shopping trolleys have been found left abandoned in Sunderland over the last two years.

Sunderland City Council is warning the public that taking a shopping trolley off a retailer's land in certain parts of Washington could land you with a fixed penalty fine of £100.

This will see the council using new powers to issue notices to anyone caught removing a shopping trolley from the retailers' grounds at the Galleries Shopping Centre and Peel Retail Park.

Warning signs have been put in place near the exit points of both these shopping areas advising people that they must not remove the trolleys and of the possible penalties if they do so.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "Abandoned shopping trolleys can be a real blight on our communities. Very often they end up abandoned at the side of the road where they can be a danger to traffic and cyclists."We've had reports of them being dumped in children's play areas where they may result in children being injured, and in our woods and greenspaces, where they can have a detrimental impact on nature and wildlife.

"We also know of cases where they have been used for illegal fly-tipping. So this is very much about us listening to complaints from residents and taking enforcement action in response."

These anti-social issues include dropping litter, dog control offences, dog fouling and fly tipping.   

The thousands of trolleys left in Sunderland have been collected and returned to stores by Trolleywise, the national scheme set up to retrieve abandoned shopping trolleys and reduce their loss from shops.