Press Coverage

Beware of ghouls, ghosts and gum this Halloween

Preston City Council

MOVE over David Blaine, as Sonia Scowcroft, Preston City Council's litter education officer, prepares to be trapped inside a giant chewing gum bubble for the latest step in the fight against grime.

This scary Halloween stunt, which takes place on Tuesday 31 October on Preston Flag Market, marks the launch of the council's new campaign to highlight the sticky issue of chewing gum litter.

The campaign will also see Halloween-themed chewing gum targets, where people can stick their used chewing gum, being installed around the city centre.

Pocket-sized chewing gum pouches will also be handed out for people to take their used gum home if they cannot find a bin.

The scheme follows last year's Bin Your Gum When You're Done campaign, which resulted in chewing gum litter being cut by 81 per cent in some areas of the city.

Councillor Carl Crompton, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: "People get fed up of seeing chewing gum lying around the city. It sticks to their clothes and shoes and costs thousands of pounds to remove from the streets. It's a council priority to tackle litter and this campaign is all about encouraging people to dispose of their gum responsibly.

"Litter louts who continue to throw their gum on the pavement could face a £75 fine, so just bin or stick your gum."

Sonia Scowcroft, who will be spending 10 minutes inside the giant plastic inflatable bubble, said: "We're always looking for new ways to make people aware of litter and I thought trapping myself inside a giant bubble would be a great way of getting across the 'don't drop your gum' message.

"It's a bit nerve-wracking, but chewing gum is such a big issue and with it being Halloween, we have to do something scary to help keep Preston tidy. We're also putting Halloween pictures on the new chewing gum targets where people can stick their used gum.

"The message is simple, we want people to be responsible chewers or they could face a nasty Halloween shock with a £75 fixed penalty fine, so just stick or bin your gum!"


  1. The campaign begins on Tuesday 31 October and runs until Thursday 30 November.
  2. The campaign includes:
    • Sonia Scowcroft, the council's litter education officer, being trapped inside an inflatable bubble, designed to look like a chewing gum bubble
    • 22 new chewing gum boards, called gum targets being installed around the city centre. These boards will be decorated with pictures of Halloween characters to encourage people to stick their used chewing gum on them instead of dropping it on the street
    • Portable chewing gum pouches, which will be handed out during the campaign
  3. Strict procedures are being followed to ensure Sonia's safety while the giant bubble stunt is carried out.
  4. The campaign is run by Preston City Council and supported by Meteora Limited who have provided the chewing gum targets (visit for details), Art of Air who have provided the inflatable bubble (visit for details) and Butts and Gum, who have supplied the chewing gum pouches (visit for details).
  5. The amount of chewing gum dropped in the city centre was measured last summer before the council's Bin Your Gum When You're Done campaign.
  6. After the campaign, the amount of chewing gum had fallen by 81 per cent in some areas of the city centre.
  7. Chewing gum that is stuck to Preston's streets has to be removed by a special gum blaster machine, which fires steam onto the stone to lift off the chewing gum.
  8. Every year, 7,000 tonnes of litter is dropped on Preston's streets. That is enough to fill 700 dustbin wagons. It costs the council £1.4 million every year to clean up Preston's streets.

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