WIRRAL Council’s “zero tolerance” crackdown on litter louts could see it lose money if on-the-spot-fines are not paid.

The authority has hired national agency Kingdom Ltd to provide enforcement action across the borough, with patrols using high-tech methods, including body cameras, to gather evidence of offences.

Anyone seen dropping and leaving litter will receive an immediate on-the-spot penalty of £80 – a percentage of which will go to Kingdom directly.

In 2013, the Croydon Advertiser reported that the private firm was paid £45 by their local authority for every litter fine they issued and with only 57% of fines actually paid, the authority was out of pocket more than £3,000.

A spokesman for Wirral Council said they too operate a similar scheme, with Kingdom receiving a percentage of each fine, although they could not tell the Globe how much as it is deemed “commercially sensitive” information.

The council says it will take all steps possible to ensure fines are paid to minimise the financial risk to the authority.

Those who fail to pay the fixed penalty could be taken to court.

The crackdown came in to force last Wednesday, with officers issuing 78 fines on day one and 61 on day two – adding up to a potential £11,120.

So far, the majority of on-the-spot fines issued have been for cigarette ends.

A spokesman for Wirral Council said:  “The contract that we have with Kingdom entitles them to a fee for each proven fixed penalty notice they issue. In return, the council receives an ‘all-inclusive’ litter enforcement service, round the clock, 362 days per year.

“Any surplus income made by the council from the scheme is reinvested solely for environmental services in Wirral.

“We are committed to using all the powers at our disposal to ensure fixed penalties are paid so any financial risk to the council is minimised. This includes a commitment to prosecuting people for the offence through the courts if they do not pay the fixed penalty.”

Before the introduction of the dedicated anti-litter team, just 90 penalty notices had been handed out since 2010.

Littering costs the council £3.7m a year to clean up.

  • What do you think? Should enforcement officers receive a percentage of fines? Have your say below or email emma.rigby@newsquest.co.uk