The strangest items dumped at a Sussex tip have been revealed by a popular worker who is retiring after 12 years.
When customers drive into Littlehampton’s tip, more likely than not they will be greeted by the smiling face of Peter Matthew.
And after 12 years working at the Viridor Household Waste Recycling Site in Mill Lane, Wick, the 61-year-old will be enjoying a well-earned retirement on Monday (November 18).
Peter, from The Crossways, Wick, said: “I love my job. It’s just the buzz of it. Customers come in and you get to know them, and they get to know your little ways.”
Having previously worked in catering at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey for 10 years, Peter moved down to Wick with his partner to be nearer family.
His average day ranged from sorting recycling to manning the front gates.
During his time, he had seen all sorts of items being thrown away – including a diffused bomb that led to the plant being evacuated and the disposal unit being called around five years ago.
But a couple of requests were burned into his brain.
About two years ago, a lady came in with ‘something in a black bag’, Peter said: “I could see the shape of it, and it was a cage of some sort.”
But it turned out there was a live hamster inside.
Peter said: “She said she wanted to get rid of it. I said, why? And she said: ‘To teach my kids a lesson’.”
Peter instead donated the hamster and cage to a nearby school. “We saved it,” he said.
Another request from around six years ago was even more bizarre. Peter said: “One evening, a lady came in with a few black bags in the boot of her car. When I took one out, it had blood on it. I asked if she could tell me what was in the bags, and she said: ‘well, it’s just household waste’.”
It turned out to be parts of a horse the lady had shot that day, but did not know what to do with, Peter said. His manager had to deal with the situation.
He said: “I will never forget it to this day. My gloves stunk, I stunk for about a week, even though I had a few baths.”
Peter will be spending his retirement in Cumbria.