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Wolverhampton litter fines rocket from 34 to 2,877

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Litter louts in Wolverhampton were slapped with 2,877 fines last year - rocketing up from just 34 fines the previous year, new figures have revealed.

In one week 401 of the £75 on-the-spot fines were given out by officers, who get paid £30 per notice.

It comes after Wolverhampton council, in partnership with private firm Kingdom Security, introduced four new dedicated officers to tackle litter problems in August last year.

The thousands of fines given out in 2015 had a potential value of £215,775 - of which the council would retain £86,310 under an agreement with private sector partners Kingdom Security.

Counillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, insisted money made would be reinvested into key services.

He said: "We have two teams of litter enforcers.

"They only get paid if they get results, but they can only get results if people litter.

"All the residents' feedback is that they want a cleaner, greener, better Wolverhampton, and I think we are giving it to them.

"Any money the council makes will go into education, new signage, new bins and that sort of thing.

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"It isn't a money-making exercise for the council, I would prefer it if Kingdom Security weren't getting paid because then people wouldn't be littering."

Under the new zero-tolerance approach to littering, officers have come down hard on people dropping litter, throwing cigarette ends or not cleaning up after dog foul.

Kingdom Security Ltd is working on the scheme with the council, and as part of the deal, the authority pays the company £45 per notice issued and keeps £30.

In August last year the new litter enforcers handed out 401 on-the-spot fines in just one week, raking in more than £30,000.

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And in November 10 people were summoned to appear at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court after refusing to pay the £75 fine.

Five people were found guilty in their absence, and ordered to pay a total of £345 each in fines, court costs and victim surcharge.

Two others admitted their guilt to the same charge by way of letter and the final three paid their fines of £75 before they were due to appear in court.

All 10 were caught littering over just two days - August 12 or 13.

Prior to the introduction of the council's Litter Enforcement Officers, it had been part of the role of around 12 members of staff.

Council bosses said it had only been "a very small fraction of their role" equivalent in 2014 to just half a full-time dedicated post.

The latest figures, release following a Freedom of Information request, also revealed spending on street cleaning had fallen slightly over the last four years.

In the 2014/15 financial year, spending was at £2,586,437, down from £2,756,581 the year before and £2,957,627 in 2011/12.

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