Plastic cereal toys from 1950s found washed up on Cornwall beaches

Jack Hardy
A blue cowboy from a 1957 box of Sugar Puffs was among the finds on the Cornish coast - Tracey Williams

Plastic toys given away in cereal boxes more than 60 years ago have been found washed up on the Cornish coast.

A blue cowboy which came free inside packets of Sugar Puffs in 1957 was found at Watergate Bay in Cornwall, with its etched waistcoat and belt buckle still visible.

Nearby was found a plastic football spinning top - a gift in Kellogg’s Corn Flakes boxes in 1958 - along with a plastic figurine of a Russian cossack believed to be from 1959.

Tracey Williams, a volunteer from Newquay who has spent more than two decades clearing plastic from the beach, found the toys over the summer.

She first began picking up plastic in “vast quantities” from the Cornish beaches in 1997, when a container from a cargo ship tumbled into the sea.

The Kellogg's spinning top was released in 1958 Credit: Tracey Williams

A similar spillage took place earlier this year close to the Netherlands, resulting in hundreds of My Little Pony dolls to washing up on beaches.

Plastic waste has now grown so severe that it has reached the remotest parts of Earth, most recently found in the Arctic snow.

Ms Williams said she was able to use “plastic archeology” to precisely date the figurines she had found by using books and internet research to establish when they were released.

She said: “Much of the plastic we get is unrecognisable, it is broken down into segments, so when you find these toys they are actually dateable.”

Ms Williams added: "We think many of these toys have been buried in sand for decades, not floating in the ocean all that time. They're washed out of the sand after storms."

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