A SUDDEN litter blitz in Worcester has seen more than 80 people slapped with on-the-spot £75 fines by a brave council official.

Under the crackdown, since mid-October an anonymous council worker has been stopping members of the public in the city centre before hitting them in the pocket.

Worcester City Council says "the vast majority" of punishments were for cigarette butts, dishing out £6,225 worth of fines for litter to 83 people in just five weeks.

Incredibly despite powerful Government legislation being in place for years councils have largely been reluctant to make use of it.

Nobody in Worcester received on-the-spot penalties for littering in the entire 2015/16 financial year, but bosses have become increasingly fed up of the mess.

On Friday October 14 enforcement action started, with one female employee pounding the streets.

The clampdown has been praised by shoppers and the results lauded as "remarkable" by council chiefs.

It has also been greeted with delight by a former Mayor of Worcester, who has hit out at litter louts for years.

The council worker handing out the fines has stuck to the task despite having to call police twice after culprits refused to accept their fines.

Cllr Jabba Riaz, cabinet member for clean, green and leisure services, said: "I'm absolutely delighted - these laws have been in place a number of years so it was high time we started enforcing them.

"The council worker doing this deserves a lot of credit."

The civil enforcement officer, who did not want to be named, told the Worcester News: "A lot of people are shocked and surprised."

One person who was handed a fine contacted this newspaper yesterday after being caught dropping a cigarette butt on Wednesday.

She did not want her name to be revealed, but said: "Yes, I did it - it wasn't just me in our group yet I'm the only one she got on camera.

"I now carry my personal ashtray around with me."

Cllr Roger Knight, a former mayor, says the move has "restored pride" to Worcester.

"Cigarette butts is one of our city's biggest problems - the chemicals in them decay and contain a vast number of nasties," he said.

"The council spends more than £1.2 million a year keeping the streets clean, this could make a substantial difference and save a fortune.

"The results are astonishing, the staff deserve a lot of praise."

The fines are levied under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and those who do not pay face prosecution.


THE council worker dishing out the fines says many people seem "surprised" to be challenged.

Since mid-October the civil enforcement officer has been patrolling the city centre, including the High Street, stopping people.

She told the Worcester News she has encountered no "nastiness", but has had to call police twice in the last few weeks because culprits have stubbornly refused to accept it.

"I work full-time and all of this work has been in the city centre," she said.

"I haven't had any nasty ones, I think most people are shocked and surprised when I stop them.

"Ninety per cent of them are shocked, they seem to be surprised to be told what they are doing is wrong."

When she stops them they are handed slips which gives people 28 days to pay the fine off or risk prosecution.

"They don't give me the money personally, they take a letter off me which says they can pay it at a reduced rate of £40 within 14 days, but it also says if they don't pay there is a potential summons to magistrates," she added.

"If I come across them littering, I'll issue a Fixed Penalty Notice."

People on our Facebook page praised the work yesterday, with many saying it is long overdue.

A reader called David Lane wrote: "It's brilliant to see the council cracking down on individuals that think it's acceptable to drop litter."

A fellow poster called Andrew Simmons added: " It's about time people were fined, now it's time to fine the littering car drivers too."

What do you think? Email te@worcesternew.co.uk or call 01905 742248.