LITTERBUGS who left rubbish strewn around a memorial bench to four men who died in a car crash have been branded ‘deeply disrespectful’.
Empty cans of cider, plastic bags and takeaway boxes have been left by the bench at Hempsted Green, off Hempsted Road in Paulsgrove.
The bins should be used in the first place but to leave it there is just so disrespectful to both the lads that died and also to their families.Councillor Gemma New
The bench was placed in the green in 2010.
It has the names of the four men – Danny Philbrow, 43, Tommy Elmes, 16, from Paulsgrove, Tommy Marsh, 16, from Port Solent and Lewis Mackley, 18, from Drayton – inscribed.
Paulsgrove residents rallied following the tragedy with about 200 people taking part in a 10-mile walk, raising £2,000 to have the bench installed.
Councillor Gemma New, who represents Paulsgrove on Portsmouth City Council said residents should be ‘mindful’ of the history regarding the bench.
She said: ‘This is deeply disrespectful behaviour for people to leave their rubbish by this bench when the bins are right there.
‘The bins should be used in the first place but to leave it there is so disrespectful to both the lads that died and also to their families.’
The tightly-knit Paulsgrove community was rocked by the deaths of the men with hundreds of floral tributes, candles, poems and other items left at the metal dome on the green – known as the ‘mushroom’ – as a mark of respect.
Scattered bags and bottles were found by the mushroom.
Cllr New added: ‘I remember when it all happened and it was a huge shock to Paulsgrove.
‘The lads were so well-known and people should be mindful of them and what the bench stands for. There should be a high level of respect paid to this bench.’
Paul Simpson, from Paulsgrove, said: ‘I’m shocked after all the outpouring of grief following the accident, that the area around the memorial bench is left in such a disgusting manner.
‘The bins are right there too.’
A bench was chosen as a tribute for the men as it would act as a place where their families and the people who knew them could sit to reflect and remember the four, ensuring that they were not forgotten.
Funds for the bench were raised through a raffle at nearby King Richard School in Allaway Avenue.