Blackpool today unveiled its new litter-busting squad in a bid to slash the £3m annual cost of cleaning the resort’s streets of discarded waste.
As part of a zero tolerance crackdown on litter louts, the team - which took to the streets yesterday - will hand out £80 fines to anyone caught dropping litter or allowing their dog to foul.
The hard-line approach is part of a campaign to make Blackpool the cleanest seaside resort in the UK by 2020.
Currently around 3,000 tonnes of rubbish a year is picked up from the town’s streets including drinks cans, fast-food packaging and sweet wrappers.
Environmental specialist 3GS had been contracted to provide the enforcement teams with the scheme funded from the fines collected.
Its managing director Paul Buttivant, himself a former councillor in London, pledged anyone caught dropping litter would face the penalty.
But he added the clampdown would not be ‘over zealous’.
He said: “Our particular business model works very well because we are not vigilantes.
“We take a balanced approach to enforcement and are not over zealous.
“When we issue penalty tickets we also aim to educate people about why they should not be dropping litter.
“If an officer witnesses an individual littering, they approach them and deal with them on the spot.
“All our officers are salaried and we do not give them targets or incentivise them in any way. We are ethical in our approach.
“People can submit a complaint to us and if there was a genuine misunderstanding, then we will deal with it appropriately.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Littering is not only a crime but it shows a complete disregard to the area where you are living or visiting.
“In the past, some people would drop litter because they thought they could get away with it.
“However our new partnership with 3GS will make it much more likely those people will get caught.”
“With a resort as busy as Blackpool, some litter is to be expected and where possible our staff try to keep the area as clean as we can.
“However, with depleting resources it becomes more and more difficult to stay on top of it and we need the public to help us by putting their litter in the bin rather than dropping it on the floor.”
Nationally local authorities spend around £1bn a year cleaning up litter.
3GS says between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of the fines it issues are paid.