Environmental wardens have hit litterbugs in St Helens with on-the-spot fines totalling almost £7,500 in a new crackdown.
The scheme was launched last month in an attempt to claw back some of the £1.7m the cash-strapped authority spends annually clearing up after litter louts.
During that short period, officers have issued 47 fines for dropping litter and one for dog fouling at £75 apiece.
Town hall chiefs also see the move as a response to a groundswell of public opinion fed up with those who litter the borough’s streets.
Coun Seve Gomez-Aspron, cabinet member for environment and neighbourhoods, said a recent publicity stunt when officials displayed a weekend’s worth of trash dumped on the town centre’s street highlighted the scale of the problem.
“The amount of litter which was on display was an absolute disgrace,” he said.
“There really is no excuse. The cost to clean up the litter comes out of your council tax, so even if you don’t drop litter you still pick up the bill of those who do.
“It’s your money being thrown away.”
Complaints during the last year to the council about littering and fly-tipping are also growing.
The harsher sanctions for litterbugs will be part of an ongoing awareness campaign run by the environmental warden team. To date the wardens have been visiting communities informing residents of the high cost of the consequences of littering.
Anyone caught dropping litter could be hit with a £75 fixed penalty notice with non-payment resulting in a court appearance.
What do you think? Are on-the-spot fines fair? Get in touch with us via the details on our letters page of the St Helens Reporter newspaper.