The abandonment and dumping of trolleys from our local Asda store has been an ongoing problem for our
ward for many years and has been raised by residents on numerous occasions at our meetings.
In late 2015, early 2016 Whinbush Residents Association incorporating Friends of Beech
Wood contacted the Asda store in Whinfield about the issue once again. As a result of this meeting it
was decided a poster campaign would be run. Asda and the residents association thought it was a good
idea to ask the pupils from Whinbush Primary School if they would like to get involved and a competition
for pupils at the school to design a poster warning people against the removal of shopping trolleys was
organised with the winning design being displayed at our local store. The Northern Echo covered the
story at the time and we were led to believe that if the posters made an impact here at the Whinfield
store there was a possibility that similar posters could be displayed in other Asda stores both locally
Unfortunately, due to the appointment of a new store manager at the Whinfield store, the
pupils winning posters were only displayed on notice boards in the store. This, we were told, was
because of company policy. The residents association were deeply disappointed and frustrated with this
change of direction from Asda and felt that management were only half-hearted in their approach to both
this campaign and the ongoing trolley problem.
As it stands there is not a single sign or poster anywhere in the store, the trolley
parks or indeed anywhere on the Asda site, to remind and advise customers that they should not remove
trolleys from the premises. We feel this gives a clear indication to our residents that management are
neither behind or committed to addressing this problem. A preventative measure such as clear signage
would be at least a starting point that Asda could implement quite easily and we feel not an
unreasonable action to take. It would also show that the retailer is committed in managing and
addressing the problem at source more effectively and visibly.
Although the nationwide ‘Trolleywise’ Scheme (www.trolleywiseapp.co.uk) backed by Sainsbury’s, Tesco and
Asda was in existence and has been since 2012, the scheme didn’t really address the problem. A resident
is able to report an abandoned trolley to Trolleywise via telephone, internet or an App and with
geo-technology the company is able to send a dedicated van to retrieve the trolley. A charge would then
be made to the local store, which we understand is between £25-£50.
Since the concept of the Trolleywise retrieval programme, millions of trolleys have been
retrieved and when you consider over half a million trolleys going missing altogether, every year, this
is a massive problem, both financially and environmentally. We also found that the very existence of the
scheme made it even more convenient for some of our residents to remove trolleys, take them home
carrying their shopping before dumping the trolley, knowing full well that at some point it will be
collected and returned to the store by this organisation. So, although the idea behind the scheme is
without doubt a good one, it in itself is hardly a deterrent and does not address the root cause of the
Despite interventions from our councillors, and in recent times our local MP Jenny
Chapman, a satisfactory solution to the problem had not been found. The final straw for us, and for and
another local resident who had also been instrumental in pushing for a resolution, came when a visit to
a local social housing estate in Whinfield had 27 abandoned Asda trolleys in the area alone. Most of the
trolleys were left abandoned, but some were parked up in the front of residents’ homes. We must stress
that this problem does not solely exist in this area, it happens right across the ward.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident and happens persistently week in week out.
We are led to believe that some councils, Ashford being one, are exploring new powers Under the Anti
Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act which would pressure store Managers to find ways to keep
trolleys on site and stop customers walking home with them. There has even been a suggestion that an
offending store could be issued a community protection notice warning. Initially the store would receive
a warning followed by an enforcement action. Wrexham council at one point were even charging
supermarkets £60 for each abandoned trolley they recovered and in Droitwich its £100.
We as an association were not for one minute suggesting that immediate course of action
here, but if Asda failed to take on board this issue and continue to be seen as not being more decisive
and proactive in tackling this matter then the issue of disbanded trolleys needed to be reviewed again.
Lets face it if one was to take a Mars bar from a supermarket without paying for it the individual would
be dealt with quite severely, but taking a £130-150 trolley, removing it from the premises and then
discarding it or dumping in our community and natural environment can be done without any recompense or
fear of punishment, so surely enough is enough and this problem needed to be addressed.
It was also brought to our attention that large volumes of trolleys were being dumped in
the water course way between the golf club and housing estates in Whinfield. Although these trolleys
were being collected once reported to Trolleywise, because they had been in contact with water each
trolley were immediately deemed as being contaminated and therefore would have to be destroyed at a huge
cost once again and particularly detrimental to our environment.
The technology was out there to tackle this issue and has been used successfully in other
areas of the UK. The reason why it had not been implemented here was purely a financial one. With the
work of a local resident along with the association’s involvement, pressure continued with a suggestion
that ‘Gateway’ technology should be implemented here at the Whinfield Store. Eventually the store
manager conceded and agreed that the matter could not go on and an application was made for funding to
implement this technology.
We are pleased to report funding of just under £20,000 was secured to implement
‘Gatekeeper’ technology to our Asda store in Whinfield in late 2017-18. Nearly 99% of the trolleys have
now been converted and the underground cables installed around the perimeter of the supermarket site.
How the system works is a simple one, once a shopping trolley crosses the underground cable a signal is
sent which locks the wheels which prevents the trolley from being moved. This brake moving system can
only be unlocked then by supermarket staff. What we have seen since the implementation of the system in
our ward, is a monumental reduction in abandoned trolleys and therefore has been a massive success. We
would like to thank not only the support from all our members of the association throughout this
campaign but also the work of one particular resident in particular who had worked tirelessly on this
issue as well. We would also like to thank the manager of Asda and management for finally making the
funds available to what we felt was a very important matter for this ward. This will ultimately save
money for the company in the long run, but more importantly for the residents and visitors of Whinfield,
it has finally tackled the once huge issue of abandoned trolleys in public spaces and the blight it had
on our environment.