LITTERBUGS, watch out – dropping a sweet wrapper or dog end could today cost you £50 on the spot.That's the message to irresponsible people who leave rubbish on Suffolk Coastal's streets, parks, beaches and housing estates as the council launched a new crackdown on litter.
LITTERBUGS, watch out - dropping a sweet wrapper or dog end could today cost you £50 on the spot.
That's the message to irresponsible people who leave rubbish on Suffolk Coastal's streets, parks, beaches and housing estates as the council launched a new crackdown on litter.
The move comes hard on the heels of a scathing report which says the region's estates are swamped with rubbish and high streets caked in grime.
The amount of fast food litter has risen 12per cent since last year and leftover burgers, pizza and kebabs have caused pavements to be caked with grease.
Sick, urine, chewing gum - found on 94pc of town centre streets - and oil are also leaving streets badly stained.
Campaigners Keep Britain Tidy say it is not councils that drop half-eaten food or urinate on our streets, but the majority are failing the public when it comes to cleaning up.
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But Suffolk Coastal is aiming to do something about the problems and has six staff - who are not being identified so the public will not be aware of who is watching their behaviour - on special patrols to catch litterbugs.
"Litter is not a major problem in this district but the stark reality is that we spend £600,000 a year clearing up rubbish that should not be there," said Andrew Nunn, cabinet member for the environment.
"This is money that could be either spent on other services or in reducing everyone's council tax bills.
"We are launching a publicity campaign funded by the Government to help get the message across that people should not be dropping litter or letting their dogs foul pavements, parks and beaches.
"Litterbugs should be aware - we are ready to issue them with £50 fixed penalty notices if they don't pick up their rubbish and put in a bin or take it home, while the maximum fine rises to £5,000. I hope the message will get through."
The team is working in Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Framlingham, Kesgrave, Wickham Market, Aldeburgh, Leiston, and Saxmundham.
Councillors say there is little excuse for dropping litter as the district is well served with 1,500 litter bins.
Region director of Keep Britain Tidy, Nigel Tansley-Thomas said: "If council chiefs just prioritise cleaning our streets and gave a little bit more attention by ensuring that walls got painted, fences got mended and litter got shifted, the difference would be huge.
"They also need to be a bit more flexible and start adapting to our 24/7 society."
Abroad, authorities hired more staff at boom times, such as the evenings, and not just 9-5 week days.
n What do think of on the spot fines - will it make you think twice before dropping litter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk