Sutton Council litter cops to dish out £80 fines for dropping cigarettes or chewing gum

Enforcement officer Chris Christofis with Councillor Jill Whitehead

Enforcement officer Chris Christofis with Councillor Jill Whitehead

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

You could be fined £80 for dropping chewing gum or a cigarette butt if you are spotted by one of Sutton's new litter cops.

Sutton Council has employed extra staff to deal with litter louts as it tries to cut the 11 tonnes of rubbish discarded on the borough's streets every single day - a problem that costs the Sutton taxpayer £4m each year.

This Is Local London:

Enforcement officer Chris Christofis educates a litter lout

The two new members of staff will join existing workers in patrolling the streets in litter hotspots and handing out fines to people who drop rubbish and then refuse to pick it up.

The council said it the campaign is more about educating people than penalising them and has pledged that the litter cops are not going to be working on commission and will give anyone who drops waste a chance to pick it up.

Enforcement officer Chris Christofis is one of the workers who will be handing out the fines. He said: "It's about education.

"The emphasis in on making people aware that it is illegal to drop litter and making people feel better about their environment.

"The behaviour of someone dropping litter without a care is indicative of them not caring about the environment. If we can educate them it will hopefully stop that behaviour.

"We will go up to people, ask them if they realise what they did. We will then give them the opportunity to pick their rubbish up and if they don't then they will be given a fixed penalty of £80

"Usually people accept what they've done but it's the people who you don't expect it from who can be the hardest to deal with.

"It's often people who drop cigarette butts. Sometimes they think they've got a right to drop them and they will say things like 'what am I paying you for?'."

The campaign is to run for six months and also includes the installation of 200 new bins around the borough.

It is being launched today and to mark the occasion Sutton Council has built an 11 tonne litter mountain in the town centre to illustrate the scale of the problem.

Councillor Jill Whitehead chairwoman of Sutton's environment and neighbourhoods committee, said: "The mountain of litter we have created in our High Street today really brings home just how much litter that is, and how disgusting it is that it ends up on our streets and not in bins.

"By educating people about the consequences of dropping litter, including thinking about what £4m could be better spent on, they can help the council to make savings and make Sutton look even better in the process."

Coun Tony Shields added: "I hope the message gets out that dropping  litter on the street is not going to go without challenge any more."


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Comments (9)

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7:37am Thu 6 Feb 14

Giles C says...

Whilst I applaud this initiative it is of no surprise that it is for only up to the election.
This is again a very cynical piece of politicking....
I am sure even Resident Tony can see that.
Whilst I applaud this initiative it is of no surprise that it is for only up to the election. This is again a very cynical piece of politicking.... I am sure even Resident Tony can see that. Giles C
  • Score: 3

8:22am Thu 6 Feb 14

Bill UKIP C&W says...

What this article does not make clear is the fact that these extra staff are employed on 6 month contracts.

6 months I hear you say, that only takes us past the May 2014 council elections. ! Surely this has not been done as a cynical ploy / stunt at public expense to highlight LibDem green credentials?

The article also misleads the reader into thinking that we have a pile of rubbish in the street costing £4 million pa to clear. However we are still awaiting a break down of where all this money is being spent. For example they have already admitted that fly tipping is included in this, which is hardly what the stunt and extra staff are there to solve. They do not make clear if the employment of people to sweep the streets, empty the street bins etc are in this charge?

In short there are more questions than answers and more than a hint of smoke and mirrors over this.

Additionally, I have been sent a document that shows the extra £2 million being spent on short term improvement projects that show quite clearly what the LibDems are doing ahead of the election period. Electioneering on YOUR money.


Bill Main-Ian

UKIP PPC for
Carshalton & Wallington
What this article does not make clear is the fact that these extra staff are employed on 6 month contracts. 6 months I hear you say, that only takes us past the May 2014 council elections. ! Surely this has not been done as a cynical ploy / stunt at public expense to highlight LibDem green credentials? The article also misleads the reader into thinking that we have a pile of rubbish in the street costing £4 million pa to clear. However we are still awaiting a break down of where all this money is being spent. For example they have already admitted that fly tipping is included in this, which is hardly what the stunt and extra staff are there to solve. They do not make clear if the employment of people to sweep the streets, empty the street bins etc are in this charge? In short there are more questions than answers and more than a hint of smoke and mirrors over this. Additionally, I have been sent a document that shows the extra £2 million being spent on short term improvement projects that show quite clearly what the LibDems are doing ahead of the election period. Electioneering on YOUR money. Bill Main-Ian UKIP PPC for Carshalton & Wallington Bill UKIP C&W
  • Score: 3

8:41am Thu 6 Feb 14

Mr Flange of Wallington says...

This has to stop.

Spending our money to get re-elected? Is it even legal?
This has to stop. Spending our money to get re-elected? Is it even legal? Mr Flange of Wallington
  • Score: 7

8:56am Thu 6 Feb 14

Something-Wonderful says...

If they are that desperate for votes how about full refunds on Council Tax for 6 months?

If you're going to pull stunts you might as well be blatant..!!!
If they are that desperate for votes how about full refunds on Council Tax for 6 months? If you're going to pull stunts you might as well be blatant..!!! Something-Wonderful
  • Score: 7

9:41am Thu 6 Feb 14

Mr Flange of Wallington says...

Something-Wonderful wrote:
If they are that desperate for votes how about full refunds on Council Tax for 6 months?

If you're going to pull stunts you might as well be blatant..!!!
I'd rather pay double and get rid of them.
[quote][p][bold]Something-Wonderful[/bold] wrote: If they are that desperate for votes how about full refunds on Council Tax for 6 months? If you're going to pull stunts you might as well be blatant..!!![/p][/quote]I'd rather pay double and get rid of them. Mr Flange of Wallington
  • Score: 3

11:34am Thu 6 Feb 14

Marie from Sutton says...

All the shops on the high street are charged for picking up the litter.

Also it keeps people in jobs and quite a few of them! Just walk up the High Street early in the morning and you will realise how many. Ditto after 5.00pm.
I will go buy some fags and a MacDonald and drop it on the high street. I am not a lib dem / tory voter and wish to keep people in full time, permanent jobs with good future prospects.
All the shops on the high street are charged for picking up the litter. Also it keeps people in jobs and quite a few of them! Just walk up the High Street early in the morning and you will realise how many. Ditto after 5.00pm. I will go buy some fags and a MacDonald and drop it on the high street. I am not a lib dem / tory voter and wish to keep people in full time, permanent jobs with good future prospects. Marie from Sutton
  • Score: 0

1:14pm Thu 6 Feb 14

DivineMrsMac says...

Do these litter patrollers actually have the legal power to make someone pay a fine? I don't believe you have any legal obligation to give a Council employee or contractor your name or address. Let's see how this new idea works in practice.
Do these litter patrollers actually have the legal power to make someone pay a fine? I don't believe you have any legal obligation to give a Council employee or contractor your name or address. Let's see how this new idea works in practice. DivineMrsMac
  • Score: 7

1:27pm Thu 6 Feb 14

LiberalsOut says...

DivineMrsMac wrote:
Do these litter patrollers actually have the legal power to make someone pay a fine? I don't believe you have any legal obligation to give a Council employee or contractor your name or address. Let's see how this new idea works in practice.
Just give them a false name and address
At a time when there is pressure on local services, not all of it from Government cuts , but also the waste of money as with this stunt, the Council is clearly electioneering with Council Tax payers money
This must be illegal - I am sure there are those wiser than me out there who would know the answer
[quote][p][bold]DivineMrsMac[/bold] wrote: Do these litter patrollers actually have the legal power to make someone pay a fine? I don't believe you have any legal obligation to give a Council employee or contractor your name or address. Let's see how this new idea works in practice.[/p][/quote]Just give them a false name and address At a time when there is pressure on local services, not all of it from Government cuts , but also the waste of money as with this stunt, the Council is clearly electioneering with Council Tax payers money This must be illegal - I am sure there are those wiser than me out there who would know the answer LiberalsOut
  • Score: 2

10:42pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Michael Pantlin says...

"The mountain of litter we have created in our High Street today really brings home just how" wasteful with public money and full of stupid idea the LibDemons are.
"The mountain of litter we have created in our High Street today really brings home just how" wasteful with public money and full of stupid idea the LibDemons are. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: -1

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