A real-life super her-hoe has been dubbed ‘Spaderman’ after ridding his entire home town – of WEEDS.
Green-fingered Stephen Scaife, 88, has spent years secretly clearing paths, roads and roundabouts of unwanted plants.
Stephen, of Exeter, Devon, says he turned full time weed-killer after the council slashed its budget and stopped properly tackling weeds.
He travels across the city with his trusty spade and removes unsightly plants from neighbourhoods, parks, courtyards and around traffic signs.
Grandfather-of-four Stephen has managed to keep his identity a secret – with locals often waking up to find their street clear of weeds.
He became known as ‘The Phantom’ or Spaderman – but has now come forward to reveal his identity.
Stephen said: “One day on my way back from the post office I noticed all the weeds outside the flat.
“I thought I’d stop and clear them away, and once you start you tend to carry on.
“So I carried on down on to the roundabout and there was still more weeds along the back of the footpath and around the traffic islands, and so I cleared those away.
“I thought it would help the council out a bit, and I carried on.”
“I realise the council is strapped for money and they haven’t got the resources now with the job cuts and that, so thought I would help to keep the weeds down.
“Once the deep clean is done it should stay clear for quite some time.
“I want to keep the place tidy, and there’s always more to do – I could carry on for years if I wanted to.
“The council have tried to do some, but they haven’t been able to do much.
“I’m happy to do it. In some places I have removed the soil so they can’t grow back because they don’t have anything to anchor from.
“Its community spirit, I’m happy to do my bit and make the area look good.”
“No one has joined in to help me yet, but I don’t expect anyone else to, it would be nice I suppose but people can do it on their own street if they want to.
“Besides the weed clearing I go dancing three times a week – I don’t spend much time on my backside.”
The problem with weeds in Exeter, Devon, had been branded a ‘fiasco’ by locals, who say they are sick of the sight of the plants growing wherever they could.
Many complained to the council, and even councillors themselves seemed frustrated by the ongoing problem.
Speaking on the issue previously, councillor Pete Edwards said: “The weeds make the city look really shabby. You walk past some areas and it looks disgusting.”
A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “Mr Scaife should be applauded for the valued contribution he’s making to the city.
“He’s displaying the kind of community spirit we need during these times of austerity.”