A ROAD sweeper known for making Tidy Street the tidiest in town is keeping everything squeaky clean during the coronavirus lockdown.

Keith Johnson, 58, has scrubbed Brighton’s streets for 20 years. While others stay home, he’s out on his rounds in a mask and gloves making sure everything is spick and span.

He is known in the Trafalgar Street area for his forensic deep-cleaning.

One of the streets he sweeps, Tidy Street, is sparkling clean all year round.

With his broom and trowel, he has scraped out bagfuls of weeds from cracks in the pavement and left it looking spotless.

But he has noticed a lot less litter since the lockdown set in, but the city’s hungry seagulls continue to cause a mess.

Keith said: “There’s not as much rubbish on my route lately. It’s very quiet. It’s like a ghost town where I work around Trafalgar Street.

“You hardly see anybody around. The only time you really see other people is when anyone who still has to go to work walks up to the station, but that’s about it. It’s strange.”

“I wear a mask and gloves on the job now, and we start an hour later, at 6am.

“I’ve got to say, Tidy Street is looking pretty tidy at the moment. So are all the other roads I work on.

“The only problem is the seagulls. They’re nesting now, and they seem to be flicking the moss they use for their nests off the rooftops.

“I’m cleaning up a lot of that, but there’s not much litter for the gulls to pick on nowadays.”

Keith’s favourite part of the job is the company, and chatting to everyone who recognises him.

He’s still managing to holler the odd long-range ‘hello’.

He said: “I’m a regular – people still stop to ask how I am. They always keep their distance though, and I feel safe.”

He doesn’t mind that he has to go to work during the lockdown. He said: “I’d get bored if I had to stay home. I don’t know what I’d do.”

In an interview with The Argus last year, he said: “You don’t have to get between the paving slabs for this job, but I get a kick out of it. At the end of the day, I don’t like seeing it get dirty.”

“I’ve always worked outside. I couldn’t work in an office or in a shop. It would do my head in.

“I’m not going to stop the weeds – they always come back again. But I love it when I’m out. You’re your own boss.

“I get on well with everybody, they’re all very polite. It’s the people that make this job great.”

And Keith struggles to leave his work behind him when he gets home as it is.

He said: “I do a bit of tidying in the garden. I cut the grass, and what I can’t get with the lawnmower, my wife Susan sees to it with a pair of scissors. We keep it looking nice.”

If you live in Queen’s Gardens, Kensington Place, Kensington Street, Tidy Street, Kensington Gardens, St George’s Mews, Over Street, Kemp Street, Foundry Street, Fredrick Gardens, or Frederick Place – give him a wave from your window.

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund