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More Enviro-Crime Offenders Shamed in Court

Nearly 80 people have now been found guilty in court for refusing to pay fixed penalty notices (FPNs) given them to them for committing offences like spitting and dropping cigarette butts. This has led to fines and court costs of nearly £23,000 over the past four months.

In November 2015 Waltham Forest Council launched a trial that sees a team of environmental officers from NSL – the contractor that already provides parking services in the borough – target enviro-crime hotspots.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment said: “To anyone caught committing an enviro-crime in Waltham Forest the choice is simple – either pay the fixed penalty notice, or end up in court with a bill running into the hundreds. The courts have found in our favour every time, so you will be punished if you don’t clean up your act.”

Since launching the trial nearly 4,500 FPNs have been issued to people caught committing enviro-crimes like littering, spitting or dropping cigarette butts and chewing gum. While 67 per cent of these paid the fine for this, a minority refused to pay and ended up having their cases heard in court.

Since April the Council has taken 78 people to court for not paying FPNs, and has won every case. In the past month courts have been issuing heavier penalties, with some being ordered to pay £250 fines and £250 in costs. One person who was fined for spitting was ordered to pay a £440 fine plus £250 in costs.

“These results show how serious we are about wiping out enviro-crime in Waltham Forest,” added Cllr Loakes. “We know that the majority of our residents respect the local environment and take great pride in their communities, and we won’t let a few irresponsible people ruin that for everyone else.”

The initiative to involve NSL officers in in enforcing low-level enviro-crimes is also allowing the Council’s Neighbourhoods officers to focus their time on larger issues such as fly-tipping.

NSL officers involved in the initiative wear bodycams that they turn on whenever they spot a potential perpetrator. By filming incidents and the issuing of fines officers feel safer and disputes over incidents can be corroborated.

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