A GROUP of environmentally-aware youngsters put their half-term holidays to good use by stepping up their efforts to protect a Hartlepool beauty spot.

The Beck Buddies spent yesterday planting 200 trees alongside Greatham Beck on the town's Fens Estate.

They looked the part in their tops, caps, wellies and waterproofs provided by Hartlepool Borough Council's Pride in Hartlepool Campaign.

The children, who live locally, have adopted the beck which is inhabited by a colony of rare water voles and other insects and plants.

The trees were bought out of £280 given by the Marks and Spencer Sports and Social Club, while some of the money has also been spent on bird box kits.

Robert Smith, one of the council's countryside wardens who worked with the Beck Buddies to plant the trees, said: "These youngsters are setting a tremendous example for others to follow.

"Their enthusiasm just seems to snowball."