THE ‘Nation’s favourite litter picker’ last week became a millionaire - after picking up his one millionth piece of litter.

Ian Cassidy, who recently moved to Kilwinning from Stevenston, has become well known in North Ayrshire as a litter-picker extraordinaire and earned the accolade of ‘litter millionaire’ after two and a half years of intrepid work on Stevenston beach.

There’s an average of 210 items per sack of litter collected and using this method, Ian has managed to roughly work out that he has passed the one million mark.

Ian explained what he, and other local litter pickers do and why they do it. He said: “I started in March 2015. It is a lot of work and I am out every other day. Stevenston beach demands the most attention but we try and look after Ardeer Quarry as well.

“The group as a whole, had collected 6,754 sacks since March and that is just over 1.4million and it puts it into context.”

Ian moved to the area back in 2010 and the main drive was the winter storms of 2014 which left a real mess of the beach at Stevenston.

He isn’t alone and is very grateful for the help he receives from North Ayrshire Council.

He added: “I’ve had lots of help from the council. They provide all the litter pickers and any equipment we need but we also do it under the Ayrshire Litter Volunteer Network. We even have litter picking buggys from the council. We started off with one and now we have a fleet of five with another one coming.”

Ian also explained the motivation to keep going, he said: “It’s the conservation aspect and I try and manage any fencing that needs taken away or plants that aren’t native. The litter picking is the crux of it and what keeps you going is that you almost become a slave to it, you know the moment you walk away from it, it’s just going to revert back.

“The satisfaction of seeing that clean beach when it is finished keeps me going. I didn’t realise it was going to be so much work. I thought after we got over the first hurdle of a clean beach then it would just be a bit of maintenance here and there.”

Most recently, Ian teamed up with other locals at Stevenston point and they collected 45 sacks of rubbish from the area.