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No Ifs or Butts - Enviro-crime Offenders Convicted in Court

More than 20 people handed fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for committing enviro-crimes in Waltham Forest have been convicted in court after not paying their fines.

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

So far the team has dished out nearly 3,500 FPNs to people caught littering and carrying out other enviro-crimes. The FPN carries a fine of £80, reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days of being issued.

Whilst the majority of offenders paid their fines accordingly a small number decided to keep ignoring the FPN, and ended up receiving a court summons instead.

The first batch of prosecutions took place last month, with the majority of offenders being ordered to pay a fine of £100 plus costs of £150. A small number of cases were adjourned and will be heard later this month.

“These convictions show how serious we are about wiping out enviro-crime in Waltham Forest,” said Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment. “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 majority of fines were issued to people caught dropping cigarette butts, but there were also prosecutions for spitting and dropping chewing gum.

“It’s about time some cigarette smokers learnt to clean up after themselves”, added Cllr Loakes. “I accept that most smokers find a bin to dispose of their butts, and most bins have special sections for them so there really is no excuse.”

“Dropping cigarette butts, chucking chewing gum and spitting are all disgusting habits, and if we have to take people to court to stop from doing it in our borough, then frankly that is that we will continue to do.”

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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