THE SALVATION Army will remove their iconic red donation bins after a spate of dumping and vandalism over the past six months.
Captain Dale Murray said he would no longer put the safety of his volunteers at risk.
“We are removing the bins, there was a significant amount of rubbish left here over the Christmas and New Year period,” he said.
“Volunteers want to do a good thing but it’s honestly become a safety issue for them, one of our volunteers was cleaning the mess that was left and picked up a baby bath that was filled with urine – nobody should have to deal with that.”
Vandals had also set the rubbish alight, burning the brand new signs on the front of the bins in the process.
“It’s just gotten to the point where it’s really bad, someone has lit the dumped waste on fire and that has damaged the signage that we spent over $1000 to put up,” Mr Murray said.
“We could have given 20 families in need food hampers with that money.”
The measure is an extreme one, but it’s a move that Mr Murray said other Salvation Army stores in the area have had to make to deal with similar issues.
“There’s people that are defecating inside the donations, they’re making a real mess,” he said.
“I want to stress that we are thankful for the meaningful donations from the public, without them we couldn’t keep going – but our volunteers should not have to spend hours of their own time cleaning up a mess that has been left by people that don’t want to take their rubbish to the tip.”
The bins will now be located inside the premises and donations will only be accepted during business hours.
The Salvation Army staff are also willing to collect larger donations from individuals themselves.
Mr Murray said he was working with Armidale Regional Council to resolve the issue, as anything left outside the bins is on Council land.
The two groups are in discussions about the installation of CCTV surveillance and foot patrols to put an end to the constant dumping of rubbish and vandalism.