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Ealing Council apologise after litter warden recorded by BBC boasting about giving out fines 'like Smarties'

BBC's Panorama heard Kingdom Services, used by Ealing Council, has an alleged bonus scheme in place for its litter officers

A woman was fined for placing recycling next to her wheelie bin

Ealing Council has apologised after a litter warden was recorded boasting about giving out tickets "like Smarties" due to an alleged bonus scheme.

The warden was being recorded by an undercover reporter during a BBC Panorama investigation.

It comes after the council hit the headlines for fining a resident for pouring coffee down a drain .

The programme claims it heard a manager at security firm Kingdom Services, which is used by the council, describe a bonus scheme linked to fines.

It is claimed he said officers earn £5 for tickets after issuing four fines in a day, increasing to £6 after seven fines are handed out.

Panorama featured the case of Ealing ballet and pilates instructor, Liz Jenner, who was fined for fly-tipping next to her wheelie bin after putting recycling out.

The Hanwell resident said to getwestlondon : "They (the council) sent a letter saying that we had been fined for fly-tipping

"They had opened the recycling bags and they took photos of my recycling.

"They had pulled out some of the envelopes with our addresses on.

"I refused to pay it."

She told Panorama: “I think it's fine if the council get a private company to enforce these fines but they need to target the right offenders, and not people that just want to have their recycling taken away.”

Ealing council said that it expects the highest standards and a common sense approach from Kingdom.

A council spokesman said: "Local people have said they want us to take tough action to stop littering.

"Like many councils we use a specialist company to carry out enforcement at no expense to residents.

"Unfortunately in these two cases officers made an error of judgement and we have cancelled the fines and apologised.

"Although the vast majority of fines are correctly issued and all of our prosecutions have been successful, we expect the highest standards and a common-sense approach to be taken."

Kingdom Services, which has 28 contracts with local authorities across England and Wales, denies officers are incentivised to fine as many people as possible.

It said the company instead pays officers a competency allowance for competencies including attendance, punctuality and positive public feedback.

In January, the council came under fire after Sue Peckitt was fined £80 for pouring a cup of coffee down a drain .

The local authority subsequently apologised and issued a refund following publication of the story on getwestlondon .

"Panorama – Inside the Litter Police" is on at 8.30pm on 15 May 2017

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