HARRY Redknapp was on hand to open a toilet block which had been put back in use thanks to a Poole recycling business after being closed for five years.

W&S Recycling purchased the block near the Co-op in Blandford Road, Hamworthy, for £57,000 and completed a full refurbishment.

Scores of residents gathered outside the facilities yesterday morning as the King of the Jungle arrived to pose for photographs and sign autographs before cutting the ribbon and unveiling a plaque.

Mr Redknapp said Geoff Thompson, owner of W&S Recycling, deserved praise for delivering the project.

“People need toilets,” said Mr Redknapp. “Elderly people go out and when they want to go they need to find somewhere.

“You just hope people respect them because they are fantastic inside and you hope the community appreciates what Geoff has done for them. He is a giver and he does things for people.

“It is the first block of toilets I have opened. I was at 10 Downing Street on Monday talking about helping young people and the problems we have on the streets and then here on Wednesday, so it has been an interesting week.”

The toilets were closed by Borough of Poole in March 2014 and replaced with a community toilet scheme involving the library, Adam Practice surgery and the Red Lion pub. A borough-wide review of public toilet blocks led to many being controversially closed, including four in Poole town centre.

Mr Thompson said the firm plans to place recycling banks for paper and textiles outside the facilities to help fund the upkeep of the toilets.

“I would like to do more toilet blocks but the council won’t sell them,” said Mr Thompson.

“The council should not have shut them here and half of them across Poole. I would like to thank Harry sincerely for coming down today for free to open the toilets. He is a very generous and caring person.”

Hamworthy ward councillor Julie Bagwell, who has worked with W&S Recycling on the project, said: “It is truly amazing to have the toilets opened.

“Working with Geoff to get these toilets done and all the hassle we had to go through with the council to buy them, fitting them out with everything that is in there, including baby changing in the gents, is absolutely perfect.

“I am so proud to have been able to achieve this and I could not have done it without Geoff and W&S. It started as an idea and ended as a fantastic achievement. The community are going to look after them forever because they are the community’s toilets.”

“I don’t believe any council has the right to take the fundamental basics away from residents, who pay council tax.”