MORE than 1,000 people have been ordered to appear in court after failing to pay fines handed out as part of Wirral Council's litter crackdown.

Most prosecutions have been for those who have chucked away cigarette ends.

By the end of last month, 6,592 people had been given an on-the-spot £80 penalty – reduced to £60 if paid within ten days.

Anyone failing to pay up finds themselves facing Wirral magistrates.

Last week the town hall tweeted there has been a noticeable improvement to our streets since the "zero tolerance" drive was launched.

The Globe went out and about to see if our readers agree.

Their reactions may surprise you …

Retired engineer William Downey, 61 stated how the issue surrounding litter was dependant on specific areas in Wirral.

He said: "In certain places it is cleaner, but the main problem is that they target particular areas and forget others - places like West Kirby and Hoylake are much cleaner than Birkenhead."

He continued, adding that the problem on the streets was not solely litter but the amount discarded cigarettes too, stating that people "think it is normal to drop them".

William said that the people issuing the fines only target those who seemed vulnerable and over looked any gangs or youth which may argue back, this was echoed by other readers we spoke to.

Wirral Globe:

William Downey

Gail Hamblett and her husband own a florist in Birkenhead market and told us how they have comforted many elderly people who have received these fines.

Mr Hamblett said: “These people who issue these on-the-spot fine, target people who are older and argue back.

“Sometimes people don’t realise they have dropped litter and would be happy to pick it up if they were asked, but instead they are given £80 fines which leads to them sacrificing their food shop in order to pay the fine.”

One of the concerns we found was the appearance of those issuing the fines, often dressed in black clothing with hoods, residents felt intimated by them.

The couple who have lived in Eastham all their lives, spoke of the distress recently caused to their 76-year old relative after receiving a fine in a supermarket car park.

Wirral Globe:

Mr and Mrs Hamblett

Gail explained: “My father-in law suffers with motor neuron disease which prevents him from having any feeling in his fingertips- he didn’t even know he had dropped litter.

“He picked it up straight away when he was told, but he was still given a fine- it is disgusting.”

The florist owners added their outrage that those handing out the fines are not from the area and raised questions over what the money is being spent on.

We did manage to find a couple of residents who were satisfied with the council’s work keeping the streets clean.

Alexander Bessarab, 22, from Walton is sent to Birkenhead regularly for work and echoed the council’s thought. He said: “The streets are cleaners I think.

“I come to Birkenhead quite a lot with work and I have definitely noticed that the streets are cleaner lately.”

Wirral Globe:

Alexander Bessarab

36-year old Jane McDonald who is a lecturer at Liverpool John Moores added that she had never seen anyone issuing these on-the-spot fines.

She added: "All the street look fine most of the time, I haven’t noticed any changes recently which would make the council send a tweet like that, but then again I haven’t noticed any problems either."

Wirral Globe:

Jane McDonald

Residents in West Kirby also felt that discarded cigarettes were a major problem.

Julian Stanley, 41 told us that although the streets themselves were clean, the bins were not suitable for those wishing to get rid of their used cigarettes.

Julian said: "When the bins are emptied, the top of them is never put back properly and this means myself and many smokers are unable to discard are cigarettes.

"I often have to put mine in my pocket when I have finished with it."

Julian Stanley

Wirral Globe: