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Walsall's litter louts hit with 250 fines in six months

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New litter police have handed out 250 fines worth a potential £20,000 in just under six months in the battle to clean up Walsall.

Private enforcement firm 3GS started a crackdown on environmental offences including dog fouling and fly-tipping in September.

New figures have revealed that 250 fixed penalty notices of £80 have been dished out to litter louts since then.

It comes as calls for more patrols have been made by a councillor concerned that town centres in his area are not being properly.

In the Darlaston and Wednesbury areas, covered by the WS10 postcode, no fines have been given out, prompting Councillor Doug James, who represents Darlaston North, to claim that residents in the area 'deserve a better service'.

Councillor James said: "Darlaston and Moxley people are proud of their town and look after their homes but something is very wrong when litter is polluting our streets and neighbourhoods. Walking across my ward I come across litter eyesores, mountains of litter and waste.

"Too much emphasis is placed on town centres.

"More people live in our residential estates they deserve a better service.

"Local residents would support clean-up initiatives if there was sustained and consistent efforts made by the council but many feel the focus on town centres neglects the streets where they live. I have asked how long they have spend in my area but they responded that they are not given a specific time so they can keep it random.

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"They move around different areas but I don't see why they should do this randomly when there are areas crying out for assistance."

In December, Councillor Ian Shires asked that the council look into a review being carried out into look at whether officers can be spread wider across the borough in an attempt to tackle 'hot-spot' locations and persistent tippers.

Earlier this year, the council said around 30 tons of rubbish were dumped in the borough every week costing in the region of £120,000 a year to clean it up.

As well as carrying out inconspicuous investigations, officers from 3GS provide a visible presence patrolling the streets, parks and open spaces.

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They have legal powers to stop anyone committing an environmental crime and will request their name, address and proof of identity.

Anyone refusing to be cooperative can be prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act which can result in a £1,000 fine from magistrates.

A spokesperson for Walsall Council said: "The contractors have issued a total of 250 fixed penalty notices for Walsall Council up to February 13, 2017."

Elsewhere in the Black Country, in Wolverhampton, more than 10,000 people were ordered to pay fines totally more than £800,000 for dropping cigarettes butts in the city.

The figures, between December 2016 and August 2015 saw people handed at least £75 for each offence as part of the Wolverhampton City Council-inspired crackdown on litter louts.

The initiative was launched in August 2015 when a hit squad of enforcers from Kingdom Security Ltd were recruited by the authority.

Meanwhile, Sandwell Council had fined just 10 people for dropping litter in 2016 by comparison and a just 11 fixed penalty notices have been issued by Stafford Borough Council since April last year.

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