Visibility bins for “sex litter” put on Hampstead Heath

Yellow bins will brighten up some of Hampstead Heath’s most secluded spots to encourage late-night cruisers to clear up their mess.

While it is accepted that the gay community use West Hampstead Heath as a midnight meeting area, a common gripe among its daytime users has been the ‘sex litter’ left behind.

Used condoms, wrappings and dirty tissues pepper the undergrowth of West Heath, but the Corporation of London has installed six new high visibility bins to try to clean up the problem.

Working with the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Hampstead Heath Constabulary, the Corporation has installed the new fleet of portable bins to encourage the Heath’s midnight walkers to take responsibility for their surroundings.

Community engagement manager for the Terrence Higgins Trust, Del Campbell said: “It’s not acceptable to leave it around for others to find.

“The message is, we don’t mind what you do, but just take the evidence with you or bin it because it impacts on other people.”

Mr Campbell said he had noticed a drop in sex litter on his last patrol of the Heath on Friday to promote safe sex among cruisers.

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He added: “I think it’s about trying to change the culture. People, who would not necessarily throw a coke can behind a tree, might throw a used condom.

“It’s perhaps harder from a practical point of view to take it with you, but we hope it will change. I think the bins will have a positive impact.”

A spokesman for the Corporation of London said the new bins were not exclusively for sex litter.

He said: “We have been working closely with the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Hampstead Heath Constabulary to promote safety on the Heath and to encourage users to take personal responsibility for their own litter.”

Hampstead Town councillor Chris Knight welcomed the idea.

“This is an essential part of clearing up,” he said.

“Clearly these people are inconsiderate to leave evidence of their sex acts for others to find and I think decent human being would put wrappers, whether they’re ice cream or condoms, in the bin.

“I’m very much in favour of this clear-up and I would very much be in favour of fining these people for not clearing up after themselves.”