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Shropshire's litter louts pay £7,500 in fines

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Nearly 200 litter louts have been fined across Shropshire in the past 12 months, bringing in more than £7,500, new figures have revealed.

More than 100 fines for a range of littering offences were issued by Telford & Wrekin Council in 2011/12, with nearly 50 handed out by Shropshire Council. Telford & Wrekin Council collected more than £5,200 in fines, with over £2,300 being taken by Shropshire Council.

Offences for which people were fined included the careless disposal of items such as food wrappers, food, cigarettes, drinks containers and chewing gum.

The information has been released as part of a report by the Manifesto Club, which is campaigning against on-the-spot fines.

It made a series of Freedom of Information requests to councils, revealing that 63,883 littering fines were handed out in England during 2011/12.

The organisation said the figure highlights a massive increase in the number of fines being handed out in the last 15 years – with just 727 issued in 1997/98.

Manifesto Club director Josie Appleton said: "Fines tended to be used as a last resort, to discipline wilful offenders when other methods – public awareness campaigns, provision of litter bins, and so on – had failed. In the past few years, in some councils, litter fines have taken on a very different role: fines have become a first resort, used at every available opportunity."

A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesman said: "Telford & Wrekin Council issued 130 fines for littering over the last year resulting in £5,225 being paid."

Grania Miller, Shropshire Council's environmental enforcement team leader, said: "We issued 47 fixed penalty notices in 2011/12. Most were paid at the reduced fine of £50 and some at the full fine of £80. We had an income of £2,350 from these.

"Littering is a form of anti-social behaviour which costs taxpayers millions of pounds annually to clear up."

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