THIRTEEN smokers who were caught dropping cigarette ends on the street ended up hundreds of pounds out of pocket when they were hauled before the courts.
They were caught by litter enforcement officers, who patrol town centres such as Uxbridge and Hayes, and have the power to fine anyone caught dropping litter.
Litter bugs are slapped with on-the-spot fines of £50, rising to £80 if they fail to pay within two weeks.
The people at Uxbridge Magistrates Court earlier this month (March 6) were all caught between September and November and had not paid since they were first fined.
Twelve of defendents failed to appear at the court and were convicted in their absence, receiving total fines of £325.
One man pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £175.
Their ages ranged from 61 to 20 and while some were from the borough, others were from surrounding areas and as far away as Liverpool.
The litter enforcement scheme is an ongoing pilot run by Xfor Local Authority Support.
The first set of figures released about it last year showed that almost a third of the people caught were young people aged 18 to 25, followed closely by those in the 26 to 35 age group, while a small number of residents aged 65 and over had also been fined.
In the first six weeks 744 fines were dished out and by early November more than £34,000 had been raised.
Council leader Ray Puddifoot has always insisted the scheme is not about making money but keeping streets clean and has said the council will install more bins if needed.
The scheme has had a seen mixed reaction from the public, with some people claiming there should be a “three strikes” system, rather than immediate fines.
But anti-litter campaigners have welcomed them as a strong deterrent from littering.
Jean Palmer, deputy chief executive and corporate director of planning, environment, education and community services, said: ”We launched the
pilot scheme in September to issue fixed penalty notices for littering after residents called overwhelmingly for a tougher stance on litter
louts. Throwing rubbish of any kind shows complete disregard to others. No-one wants to live in a dirty borough, we should be taking pride in
where we live.”