By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter
The mystery of disappearing bins in Crystal Palace has left residents baffled.
Residents say bins in the town centre began going missing at Christmas prompting a successful community campaign to get them replaced.
Locals say they first noticed a bin at the top of Belvedere Road go missing in December. It was replaced, only to go missing again days later.
This disappearance was followed by two in Westow Street – one by the war memorial, they claim.
While the missing bins may seem just a small inconvenience, local resident, Francis Bernstein, told us just how important they are.
He started a change.org petition signed by nearly 100 people to get the bins replaced.
On the day that the first Westow Street bin went missing, Francis picked up three bags of rubbish on the small green outside Sainsbury’s.
“For years I’ve been helping organise the remembrance service at the war memorial. It is a very special spot, we got a bin put there because that area was always being littered.
“On the day that bin went I collected three bags of rubbish. There’s a knock-on impact, all the bins become full and people end up dropping their rubbish,” he said.
“In the grand scheme of things they are just bins but they are in strategic places that keep the area tidy.”
On February 9, more than a month after the first strange occurrence, Croydon Council’s waste management team replaced all three bins.
“It was like, ‘what’s going on?’ I can’t give an answer as to what happened,” said Francis.
The little area at the junction of Belvedere Road and Church Road, where the first bin went missing, is a special place in Crystal Palace, Francis told us.
It used to be full of rubbish but a group got together to spruce up the space with flowers and a bin here is key to keeping it looking nice.
Francis added: “This little spot is where the community have done a bit of a takeover, we’ve got an amazing team of volunteers who do all the flowers, it is an usual space because it is a tiny enclave of Croydon surrounded by Bromley.
“To make the space special we got a bin out here because the flower beds were being filled with rubbish.
“The bin was part of that community initiative.”
Although it is still not clear who removed the bins or why they were taken, Francis is just happy that they have been reinstated.
And he hopes something can be done to ensure no more bins disappear – this could be something like decorating them to look attractive, he says.
Councillor Muhammad Ali, cabinet member for sustainable Croydon, said that the council is currently working with waste contractor Veolia to investigate what happened to the missing bins.
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