FOUR children in Tidworth were so disgusted with the state of a new play and recreation area in the middle of the town that they decided to clear it up.

Now their public-spirited enterprise has been recognised and rewarded by Tidworth Town Council, which has presented each of them with certificates and a £10 voucher.

Anthony Rigby, 13, said: “We decided to collect the rubbish and went to the shop to buy the bags and at the garage they gave us the gloves.

“The area was a tip – it was filled up with rubbish, empty drinks containers, bottles and fish and chip wrappers.”

The play area – known as the new play area in Pennings Road – was opened last year to much fanfare and is the responsibility of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) – an arm of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Tidworth’s mayor Councillor Chris Franklin, who presented the awards at the beginning of the monthly full council meeting, hopes news of the children’s actions will get the DIO to redouble its efforts to keep the area clean.

He said: “We have asked the DIO to increase its litter picking during school holidays. People shouldn’t throw litter but they should all be shamed by the fact that children have had to go to this trouble and have picked it up for themselves. But I’m proud that these children have shown initiative, and they are a credit to their families.

“The certificate is for being outstanding members of the community.”

Garrison commander Col James Denny was in the pubic seat at the meeting and heard the concerns.

A MoD spokesman said: “The community play area is used by both military and civilian families. The play area is regularly checked for maintenance and bins are emptied weekly.

“However, some users are not using the bins provided and therefore spoiling the facility for others. We would like to appeal to those who use the play area to dispose of their rubbish properly so everyone can enjoy this wonderful amenity.”