Council graffiti stunt backfires

Appeared in the Daily Record 17 November 2012

A HIGH-profile bid to bust graffiti ended with red faces after a cherry picker broke down – leaving two council workers stranded 40ft above the ground for two hours.

Edinburgh Council summoned journalists to the stunt in Leith where they were launching a big clean-up effort.

But a mechanical fault with the cherry picker left two “specialist cleansing staff” stranded high above the streets before they had deployed their brushes.

The event was scrapped after officials were unable to fix the problem and the two men were left in the air for two hours, next to a Tesco store in the city’s Duke Street, awaiting rescue.

As officials scratched their heads wondering how to get their employees down, the men had to suffer taunts from highly-amused colleagues.

Neither of the men – both called Dave – wished to comment on their predicament.

Over the two hours a string of council vehicles was summoned  to attempt to get the cherry picker working, but were unable to assist their stricken colleagues.

Eventually a second cherry picker was dispatched and successfully lowered the pair to safety.

The event was part of a three week event which plans to improve the appearance of the streets of Leith. It aims to remove graffiti, stickers, posters and cable ties from buildings and structures such as  bus stops, lamp posts, phone boxes and post boxes in the area.

City Environment Convener Lesley Hinds had praised the initiative. She said: “One of our key commitments of the Capital Coalition is to maintain and improve the quality of life in Edinburgh and Shipshape Leith is a fine example of this in action.”

The council had also  made Friday volunteer day, calling for local residents to come along and help out with the clean-up operation.

A Council spokesman said: “Shipshape Leith was a great success today with nearly 50 people, including many volunteers, helping to clean up the streets. The project is continuing for the next two weeks and I’m happy to report that the two staff on the cherry picker which broke down are safely back on ground level and the graffiti will be cleared soon.”

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