A FLASH mob used drama to launch an Essex-wide campaign to tackle litter.

Councils across the county are joining forces with three fast food giants to launch the first Clean Essex Campaign.

All 14 Essex councils, supported by Keep Britain Tidy, Essex County Council and the Highways Agency, will work alongside McDonald’s, KFC and Dominos to raise awareness of litter and the risk of fines for offenders.

The drive will see fast food chains promoting anti-litter messages backed up by local activities and enforcement by councils.

In the Rochford district, a flash mob brought Rayleigh High Street to a standstill, as a team of Clean Crusaders showed everyone the importance of binning their litter.

The event was staged by the Mushroom Theatre Company, a group which integrates able bodied performers alongside disabled people and those with special needs.

The group staged an incident where a crisp packet was dropped on the floor, before a “Clean Crusader” super hero stepped in to confront the culprit.

They then used their performance skills to tell the story of the crisp packet on it’s travels.

The litter was washed down a drain and into the sea, where it caused harm to the marine life.

Keith Gordon, Rochford district councillor responsible for the environment, said: “The flash mob was such a good idea because it really brought to life the importance of putting your litter in the bin.

“These Clean Crusaders are extremely talented people, who have found a fun way to get across the key messages behind the Clean Essex Campaign. We are also having a series of Environmental Action Days where we are asking for volunteers to help us clean up their neighbourhoods, because we all want our district to be litter-free.

“This initiative is important because street cleansing alone costs taxpayers more than £17million a year in Essex. Money which frankly, could be better spent.”

Cherry Lewis Taylor, from McDonald’s, said: “It’s vital everyone takes responsibility for tackling litter.

“From local businesses like mine to communities and the residents of Essex, we should all make a commitment to help protect our local environment.

The campaign will see Environmental Action Days in Hullbridge, on June 11, and Great Wakering, on June 12. There will also be roadshows at Wild Woods, in Hockley Woods, on Saturday, June 7 and at Ashingdon Fun Day, on July 5 and Paglesham Fair, on August 23.