Officers on patrol in Wimbledon
Merton's smokers are being warned that the council is hitting the borough's litter hotspots to warn smokers of the consequences dropping cigarette butts have on town centre streets.
Engagement officers from the council's waste services team spoke to people in Wimbledon about keeping the area clean and the cost of dropping cigarettes on the streets - a £80 fixed penalty notice (FPN).
They also handed out cigarette pouches to smokers passing by to deter them from throwing their butts on the ground.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis, joined the officers outside Centre Court Shopping Centre, handing out stubby pouches to smokers, so they can safely carry their stubbed out cigarette with them rather than drop it on the pavement.
He said: "We don’t like fining people, which is why we are making such a substantial effort to educate people about what litter is and its effect on the environment. People don’t always know that, if they drop their cigarette butt, they are littering and could be in line for an £80 fine.
"We take a zero tolerance approach to litter and therefore will not hesitate in fining anyone dropping litter on Merton’s streets. We will also prosecute anyone we catch fly tipping."
In the past year nearly 200 gum and cigarette butt bins have been installed across Merton, including town centres and outside tube stations, to stop people littering.
The team will be out again in the first week of December.
Cabinet member for environmental cleanliness and parking, Councillor Judy Saunders, said: “The council is fully committed to keeping our streets clean. This year alone has seen our enforcement officers hand out over 8,000 fixed penalty notices for littering, many of those for cigarette butts. We have a zero tolerance approach to littering and our officers are educating people on the consequences of dropping their butts on our streets.
“We spend over £5million a year keeping our streets clean and we have found that the small minority of people who litter are from outside of the borough. That is why we are stepping up our efforts to ensure that anyone caught dropping litter pays the price.”
Engagement officers will be at the following locations over the next few weeks:
Between 11am – 2pm
1 December, Colliers Wood tube station
2 December, Morden tube station
4 December, Mitcham town centre
8 December, Raynes Park train station
9 December, Wimbledon train station.
November 25, 2015