ASHBY — Ashby’s roadsides are now about a ton and a half lighter than before. Residents and police picked up some 3,000 pounds of litter and trash during the May 24 cleanup.

Off-duty members of the Ashby Police Department pitched in to pick up. “It is excellent that a number of people participated,” said Bill Stanwood, materials management advisor for Ashby. “The police were absolutely instrumental and the majority of that collection came from their work.”

Police Chief Paul Lundin said that Derek Pepple, John Dillon, Brian Vautour and Sean Zrate joined him in the cleanup. In addition to tires, these officers collected several other large items and 20 bags of trash.

Dillon partnered with Pete Bezanson of Pete’s Auto Service, who volunteered to take responsibility for recycling the tires that the police collected. “I thought it was a great thing they did that,” Bezanson said. “I gave them a spot where they could put them.”

Bezanson estimated that the police collected around 40 tires. Normally, he said, people need to wait for hazardous waste disposal days or pay to take used tires to a landfill. His business picked up the cost of recycling the tires gathered during the cleanup.

“When people see garbage and piles of tires along the road they may get the impression that the town doesn’t care what happens and they may be more likely to add to the trash or even commit more serious crimes,” said Lundin.

The chief commended his officers and said, “This is just one example of their dedication to the town’s residents.”

But the police weren’t the only ones who made the day a success. Stanwood said that one family brought quite a lot of material that they gathered near their home. Many other collectors were working as individuals, he said.

The transfer station waived the usual $3 fee for street debris during the effort.

A few strange items were brought to the transfer station. Stanwood said someone brought in a motorcycle license plate from Ontario, Canada. That was the first time he had seen one come through, Stanwood said.

A personal favorite for Stanwood is a doll, over 2 feet tall, that was picked up.

“Right now it’s leaning up against the collection shed like a mascot,” he said. “It seemed too personable to put in the Dumpster but too dirty and broken to give to a kid.”

Stanwood was pleased with the amount of rubbish collected by the volunteers and said this year’s collection was more successful and occurred earlier in the season than the 2007 event. Stanwood said fewer people would have bad reactions to the dust and the bugs now than they would later in the summer.

“This is the second of a now stabilized and institutionalized event,” Stanwood said. “In other words, we’re going to do this again and again and again. This is something we are going to do each year.”