VOLUNTEERS hauled 150 fly-tipped tyres out of the River Brent during a massive clean-up.

A 16-strong team from LAGER Can - the Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents - and CURB (Clean Up The River Brent), gathered on the riverbank north of the A40 in Perivale.

The session began with the shock discovery that in addition to the 50 tyres spotted on a reconaissance some weeks earlier, another 100 were buried in oozing mud.

Volunteer Jane Branch said: "The river wasn’t deep, but this was more difficult than any other river clearance because of the volume of heavy items held down by silt, which stank! 

“These had to be removed from the river and dragged up the bank.  What I did notice was how much faster and more freely the river flowed once we’d taken out all those obstacles."

Ben Morris, of CURB, added: " We were working in a heavily-polluted and culverted riverbed.  The heavy lifting took a toll in exhaustion and injury - mainly to backs and shoulders."

The three-hour operation was made possible after the self-storage company, Vanguard, granted access to the river from its premises in Alperton Lane. 

Ealing Council waste contractor Greener Ealing sent a crew to collect the huge pile of tyres.

Also recovered from the river were 10 bicycles, five shopping trolleys and enough rubbish to fill 55 sacks.

The clean-up was LAGER Can's second river operation since being accredited as a Thames 21 River Action Group.  

LAGER's Cathy Swift said: "It all ran like clockwork and we had a great time.  We were pleasantly surprised to see an eel.  It was as if it swam by to thank us!"