MORE than 40 years’ worth of rubbish has been removed from a beauty spot by volunteers.

Members of the Maritime Volunteer Service transported 30 large builders’ bags full of plastic debris from inaccessible rocks below Beachy Head.

It was taken aboard the vessel East Sussex 1 and upon its arrival at Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, the waste was taken away for proper disposal.

The plastic had been washed up by the sea over the last 40 or more years and built-up layers, despoiling the coastline and putting wildlife at risk.

Greg Darby, head of unit of the East Sussex Maritime Volunteer Service, said: “We are very happy to continue to support this very important project. I am proud of the excellent seamanship skills and teamwork shown by our crew and of the support of the whole unit during the clear-up operation.

“I’m also happy to say that we’re expecting to resume our youth group programme shortly, both taking youngsters and their leaders out on East Sussex 1 and also providing them with small boat training in the harbour.”

In August and September last year, East Sussex 1 took some five tons of plastic away for disposal ashore.

Just last month, environmental charity Ghost Fishing UK and Sussex Wildlife Trust recovered almost 200kg of fishing gear from the seabed of the coast of Brighton as part of the Wild Coast Sussex project.

Scuba divers reported the discarded fishing nets found on a shipwreck, which can harm marine life and lead to more plastic pollution.

Known as "ghost gear", lost or abandoned nets and pots mean animals can become trapped and act as bait for other creatures, leading to a "non-stop cycle of wasteful deaths", according to Ghost Fishing UK.

It was the second mission the team has undertaken in Sussex this year, following several reports of lost nets fouling the wrecks in the area, causing a hazard not just to scuba divers themselves, but to wildlife along the coastline.