Fly tippers are targeting the River Tyne and its banks as a way of illegally dumping waste.
In the last two years around 20 tonnes of rubbish has been cleared from the banks of the river from its mouth to Ryton by a project backed by volunteers from businesses and community organisations.
The Clean Tyne Project stages `bank raids' to try to tackle the dumping problem at a river which has been reborn in water quality terms and which is the best in England and Wales for rod catches of salmon.
The volunteers clear up natural debris and items like shopping trolleys dumped into the river by youngsters - a total of 15 trolleys were found under Scotswood Bridge, in Newcastle.
But riverbank co-ordinator Keith Newman said: "There is also fly-tipping, which certainly has an impact on key areas. Tyres are a particular problem since disposal legislation was tightened."
This week a clean-up operation by the project involved 40 volunteers from Newcastle City Council and the Environment Agency working their way along the Ouseburn, from Byker Bridge to where the tributary joins the Tyne.
They collected two tonnes of rubbish, including the bonnet of a BMW car.
City council spokesman Philip Hartley said: This part of the city is becoming very popular and is being increasingly used by walkers and cyclists. The clean-up has removed many items from the river that were unsightly, making it a better place to spend leisure time "
Tomorrow 300 Tyne riverside businesses have been invited to a presentation in Newcastle on the problem, where booklets on how to dispose of waste will be given out.
The Clean Tyne Project is a partnership between the Port of Tyne, SITA Trust, the Environment Agency, National Grid and the river's bordering councils of Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Newcastle. Another seven bank raids are planned before October, with the next one on June 20 at Walker Riverside Park in Newcastle.
Volunteers are issued with protective clothing and given an extensive health and safety briefing before starting work. This will typically involve spending a morning removing debris from the riverbank.
For details contact Keith Newman on 07814 397951.
Rubbish cleared from the riverbanks include:
* An old safe.
* Horse skull.
* Shotgun cartridges at Walker.
* Handbag and credit cards at Blaydon.
* A road sign for Gateshead at Blaydon.
* The end of a wooden jetty.
* Ten bikes.
* Fifteen traffic cones.
* Two children's pedal cars.
* Car parts
Village is in a stink over sewage
Raw sewage has been leaking into the river Tyne close to a picturesque Northumberland village after an `illegal deposit' was made in the drainage system.
Used toilet paper and human waste are trickling from an underground pipe into the river near Corbridge, and residents say they want the situation sorted out.
Coun Laurence Best lives close to the pipe and said that the amount of waste that leaked into the river varied from day to day.
He said: "It makes a terrible stink and we cannot put up with it any more - it is polluting the river.
"It has been going on for a while and I know that Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency have both had a look at it so it is about time it was sorted out."
The pipe is about a metre wide and is supposed to carry surface water into the river and not sewage.
Coun Best added: "The children used to go to feed the ducks down there but people can't do that any more because of the sewage." A spokesman for Northumbrian Water said: "We believe that the problem has been caused by an illegal deposit into a surface water outflow pipe. We have located what we believe to be the source and have taken the appropriate action."
It is not the first time that the village has had a problem with the disposal of sewage.
In October 2004 The Journal reported how residents of the new Chains estate in the village were furious as they were allowed to move in to their homes before a proper sewage system had been installed.