Colchester ‘litter police’ issue £12,000 in fines patrolling town centre

Workers cleaning the streets of Colchester Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Workers cleaning the streets of Colchester Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL - Credit: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

A controversial new scheme to crack down on “filthy” conditions is being launched in Colchester – with council chiefs employing ‘litter police’ to patrol the streets.

In a bid to clean up pathways and tackle anti-social behaviour in the town centre, Colchester Borough Council (CBC) has brought in civil enforcement officers with powers to issue £100 fines – penalising those who drop litter, from dog waste to cigarette butts.

More than 100 fixed penalty notices – 126 in total, at a value of £12,600 – were dished out by the team between Friday, October 12 and Thursday, October 18.

Of these, 117 were classed as ‘litter offences’, while seven were issued for ‘urinating in a public place’, and two for ‘dog fouling’.

While many are thrilled to see the council crack down on anti-social behaviour, some consider the penalties too harsh and would rather see the money invested elsewhere.

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One local resident named Joe, who did not wish to give his last name, described the scheme as “reactive rather than proactive”.

“Quite frankly they are putting a plaster on an open wound,” he said.

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He claimed the product was “twice the cost, half the service,” adding “the council are not thinking things through”.

However, many took to social media to express their gratitude for the new team, supplied by contractor Artemis.

People living in the town hope the scheme will make Colchester a more pleasant place to live.

Leah Patricia said: “Every path and walkway around the town is littered with waste.

“I don’t think they should announce when they are going to do it.

“If it takes fear of being fined to make people behave, then so be it.”

Speaking about the new scheme, Martin Goss, CBC’s portfolio holder for waste, sustainability and infrastructure, said: “If we want to support a thriving night time economy we need to ensure the town is a clean, safe and welcoming place and we intend to continue to work in partnership with Artemis to help hammer home the message that anyone who blights our town will face a hefty penalty.”

It comes after the council organised a ‘deep clean’ of the town centre following a plea for action from the Colchester MP Will Quince, who called conditions “filthy” and “an embarrassment”.

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