A GREEN-thinking North-East man has become the first winner of a Tees Valley-wide recycling competition.

Christopher Hawkes was presented with £50 in euros, as the winner of the Message in a Bottle competition, run by the five Tees Valley local authorities.

The scheme, funded by Defra and supported by the local authorities along with radio station TFM, will run for 12 weeks, giving residents from the five council areas in Tees Valley a chance to win the cash by putting their recycling out for collection.

The 12 winners will then be entered into a prize draw to win a £3,000 holiday.

Stephen Harker, Darlington Borough Council's member for consumer and environmental services, said: "This is a fun way to get more people recycling their rubbish. It is great that the first winner of the competition was from Darlington and I hope more people will now take part and put their green boxes out."

Anyone wanting more information about the Message in a Bottle competition can contact Phillippa Scrafton, Darlington council's recycling and waste minimisation officer, on (01325) 388564.