Celebrations for the fifth anniversary of a community group helping to keep North Yorkshire tidy were joined by Rishi Sunak.

The Wombles of Hambleton were formed in 2018 to collect litter in and around the county town of Northallerton.

In five years the volunteers have collected more than 12,500 sacks of rubbish and spawned a number of linked groups tackling the scourge of litter in their communities.

Mr Sunak joined the Wombles to collect litter in the park at Romanby, Northallerton.

The Richmond MP and Prime Minister said: “I first met the Wombles when they formed five years ago and since then they have gone from strength to strength and received justified recognition for their efforts locally and nationally. They do a fantastic job.”

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Wombles founder Claire Hampson is an ambassador for the Keep Britain Tidy group and was one of 20 other ambassadors who were invited to attend the Great British Spring Clean launch in Parliament earlier this year.

READ MORE: Wombles of Hambleton founder determined to create a greener world

Mr Sunak described Mrs Hampson as a community stalwart. “She leads her group from the front and inspires others to join her in making our communities cleaner and tidier,” he said.

Since the Wombles of Hambleton was first established, linked groups including the Thirsk Wombles, the Wiske Wombles and Brompton Wombles have been formed to litter pick in the areas where they live.

During the litter-picking session, Mr Sunak and Mrs Hampson talked about the Government’s plastic bottle and drink cans recycling plan which is due to be introduced as a deposit return scheme in 2025. It aims to ensure 85 per cent fewer drinks containers are discarded as litter.

Mrs Hampson said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Mr Sunak to Romanby and it is great that he is finding time in his schedule to keep in touch with our community group, meeting our hard-working volunteers and listening to our environmental concerns.”