SOGGY, brown cigarette butts are an ugly sight.
And residents and commuters in Havant were fed up with seeing them scattered across the ground in areas such as the town centre bus station.
But, thanks to a crackdown by Havant Borough Council, there has been a reduction of dropped cigarettes of up to 30 per cent.
Earlier this year The News reported on the disgust of passengers waiting at the train and bus stations having to face piles of discarded cigarette butts because smokers could not be bothered to dispose of them properly.
But rangers from the council targeted hotpots and issued fines to those caught flouting the law.
Since April there has been a drop of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent in the amount of cigarette litter.
And the number of fines has gone up.
Councillor David Guest, deputy leader of the borough council, said he is pleased with the reduction but there is still some way to go.
‘Dropping cigarette butts is littering,’ he said. ‘A campaign to reduce that problem still further is going to be launched soon.
‘The council will have enforcement officers on the street, with the powers to give out £75 on the spot fines to people who drop litter – and that includes cigarette ends.’
He added: ‘People who get rid of their cigarette ends without much thought had better start thinking. It’s going to be an expensive thing to do if they don’t put them in the proper receptacles.
‘It’s all about education. People have got to be educated to realise that throwing cigarette ends makes the environment look a mess and someone has got to clear it up.
‘I always try to do it myself when I’m walking along and spot litter.’
Under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence to drop or leave litter in any public place, even if thrown from a vehicle.
Environment Rangers from Havant Borough Council, together with Hampshire County Council’s Accredited Community Safety Officer and Hampshire Police Community Support Officers have issued 11 fixed penalty notices in the Greywell and Park Parade area of Leigh Park over the past two weeks.
The fixed penalty cost of £75, which is reduced to £50 if paid within a set time, is to help communities in maintaining a litter-free environment and are issued if anyone is found littering in a public place.