A private company hired by Liverpool City Council has handed out £500,000 in fines in just eight weeks.
The Liverpool Echo reports that the 17 person team was hired to replace a four person squad previously hired by the council.
Figures show that in just over two months, Kingdom Environmental Protection Services handed out 6,227 £80 fines, totalling £498,160.
There have also been accusations of aggression and intimidation by Kingdom and it is known that the police have been called on at least one occasion – when fines where being handed out on a private property.
Liverpool City Council said that the money received from the fines would be “reinvested in wider environmental services.”
Counsellor Steve Munby said, “our share of the income from fines contributes to the wider environmental budget from which we are funding a range of improvements from larger litter bins to extending street cleansing hours and cleaning alleyways to tracking down those responsible for fly tipping.”
The Department for Environment has also warned councils to cease handing out fines for “petty or trivial” offenses, such as when people accidentally drop litter.
In 1997 727 fines were handed out, compared to 63,000 in 2016.
In its new litter strategy the department said:
“Councils must use their quasi-judicial powers in such a way as to uphold public confidence.
“Enforcement action should not be taken in respect of petty or trivial incidents, or if there is no intent to drop litter.”
Councils also were told to consider terrorism when planning new designs for public bins.