A WOLVERINE is on the loose around Stalybridge – but it will not take much to find its targets.
For as he says “It’s in front of your eyes, it’s not hidden”.
Massimo Malacrino is finding fame on social media as the self-styled ‘Italian wolverine’ and he has already showed Tameside Council and British Waterways where they were going wrong.
After he spotted waste that was ruining his view of the River Tame as he went for a coffee on the terrace of Deli Felice, he jumped in and did something about it.
Now with a relatively clear, though not completely clear, waterway others are praising him and even enquiring if they can do something similar where they are.
It has certainly proved a hit as a video of Massimo and Ali San, manager of Deli Felice on Market Street, getting their hands dirty and their feet wet has been seen more than 22,000 times and reached more than 40,000 people.
“We have a problem on our rivers in Stalybridge. We have the problem of plastic bags and bottles, old tyres, empty cans of lager etc,” Massimo wrote.
“I do question why it does not get removed?
“As the new manager of Deli Felice who has invested in our town was shocked by the view from his beautiful terrace so we got dirty and removed it all and put it all in a skip.”
Massimo’s actions, after doing plenty for charity, work with Italian organisations around the country and for the earthquake-hit Italian town of Amatrice, sparked a huge reaction and he told the Correspondent he would be willing to do similar if he things it is needed.
He said: “I’m guilty of it, writing on social media posts then walking past.
“Sometimes I have so much going on, I don’t see what’s in front of me.
“I was sat having a coffee at Deli Felice and the manager came up to me and said, ‘You know what, I’m sick of seeing all this plastic in the water. Customers are starting to notice it’.
“So I said, ‘Do you want to go down and move it?’
“‘He replied, ‘Will you do that with me?’ and I said yes, of course I would.
“I was lucky as I had waterproof boots on that day and the river was quite low because of the heat.
“Fortunately, there’s a set of steps that can’t really be seen, so we went down and picked it up. I could hear the manager and thought, ‘he’s getting pretty angry’.
“So I got my GoPro camera out and just filmed it, just to say, ‘it’s wrong’.
“Nothing is ever scripted, you know when something is.
“There was a lot more in there than I thought there’d be. The main thing that shocks people is it’s in front of their eyes.
“So I made the video and didn’t think anything of it.
“I just posted it and people came up to me that night shaking my hand when I took my son to karate.
“I said, ‘welcome back,’ because the six-week school holiday was over but they said, ‘no, congratulations’. I was like, ‘for what?’ And they said, ‘your video!’
“I looked at my phone and I was like, ‘my wife is going to kill me!’
“We got lots out but not all of it, there’s still a tyre that is wedged so far in it can’t be pulled out. It needs specialist equipment to lever it out but we took a lot because either Tameside Council couldn’t or British Waterways didn’t.
“Wolverine stands for giving someone a safety line. Someone gave me one, a hell of a safety line so if I can give someone one, then it’s job done.”
Ali, who bought Deli Felice in August, revealed his motivation for getting involved.
He said: “It was a really bad view. Everyone was saying, ‘it’s a lovely place but what’s this?’
“It’s definitely made a massive difference and it looks a lot better.”
Massimo is also a familiar figure as he practices the art of edge walking and training runs see him setting foot on the top of bridges in and around the area.
The 48-year-old, who lives on The Lock, grew up in the Gorton area of Manchester but is of Italian descent as his parents moved from the Reggio Calabria area – the toe of the boot – for a better life.
His actions and videos are attracting a great reaction as he has appeared several times on the Radio San Paulo station in his home country.
Even though the ‘Wolverine’ tag had an unlikely starting point as he revealed: “I was in McDonald’s in Stockport ordering a hot chocolate and I’d just returned from backpacking in Italy – my hair was wild, I had a beard, a dark sun tan and I was quite toned up.
“All of a sudden, people were banging on a table and the manager came out asked, ‘who are you?’
“I said, ‘I’ve just come for a hot chocolate,’ and he said, ‘well, look behind you’.
“I turned around and there was about 20 students shouting, ‘wolverine, wolverine, wolverine!’ So I added Italian to it!”