Junk man vows to clear up

AN ENVIRONMENTAL bigwig at odds with neighbours over his junk-filled garden has today vowed to clean up the mess after tonnes of rubbish caught fire.Ken Symonds, a member of Ipswich Borough Council's environmental protection panel, has been surrounded by mounds of garbage for more than a year, which he said is for recycling purposes.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL bigwig at odds with neighbours over his junk-filled garden has today vowed to clean up the mess after tonnes of rubbish caught fire.

Ken Symonds, a member of Ipswich Borough Council's environmental protection panel, has been surrounded by mounds of garbage for more than a year, which he said is for recycling purposes.

Despite several complaints from neighbours he has failed to clean up the environmental hazard on his own doorstep.

Gas canisters, petrol containers and boat motors are among the many items in the backyard of the self proclaimed gardening enthusiast.

And it wasn't until Monday, when fire tore through Mr Symonds' garden in Croft Street, that he admitted he had a problem.

Fire fighters had difficulty in gaining access to the fire to put it out because of the rubbish.

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Mr Symonds, 53, said: "I am going to do something about it and took the day off work to arrange for a skip but it is difficult to get access to the garden.

"It's not going to happen today but I will try.

"The fire was an attempt to reduce the rubbish and on Sunday I burnt some timber in a small barbecue. My great hobby is gardening and on midday on Sunday I burnt the wood and I then raked through it. There was a volume left in the barbecue and the bottom was still wet so I chucked it in a plastic bucket with the intention of saving it and putting it on the garden."

The bucket was put in the shed but at 6.45pm fire broke out inside creating flames up to 20ft high and spreading to a small section of Mr Symonds' garden.

Firecrews managed to tackle the blaze before it could engulf the remainder of the garden.

Mr Symonds called the fire brigade himself and later apologised to some residents but for his terrified neighbours in Little Croft Street the fire was the last straw.

Angela Clarke, 24 contacted The Evening Star hoping to embarrass Mr Symonds into clearing up.

She said: "I called the fire brigade and two fire engines were here battling to get it out.

"They couldn't get to it very well because of the rubbish.

"It was so close to our house - it could have been so much worse.

"If it had happened at two or three in the morning and we hadn't noticed it, think how far it would have got. It put a lot of lives at risk."

Mr Symonds said he had a schedule to tidy up but poor health and difficulty in accessing his back garden had held him back.

He added: "I kept it because of recycling, I was trying to do some building and design. I have a creative urge.

"I like the idea of things not being buried and would rather see them made use of.

"The garden has been raided three or four times by kids in the past and they have unwittingly cost me a lot of money. The rubbish is a way of defending myself against kids."

Mr Symonds attempted to contact skip companies to remove the rubbish on Tuesday but because access to the back of the property is via the narrow Little Croft Street he had little success.

n. Can you help Mr Symonds clear his garden?

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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