It’s time to take tougher action on the litter bugs

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What is it with people who can’t treat their own communities with a little respect?

Today we report on the litter bugs and dog owners who feel no shame in spoiling the enjoyment of the countryside around Horndean through their thoughtless actions.

To them these are the ideal places to dump rubbish, drop litter or leave their dog mess behind. But that’s not a problem – as someone else will come along behind them and clear it away, won’t they?

For that’s what local countryside rangers had to do, spending an entire day clearing up a few beauty spots. But what’s worse is that it’s what they expect whenever the weather turns good.

Once more it’s the mindless few spoiling it for the thoughtful many, but it makes it no more easier to bear.

And it’s not as if it’s just the people of Horndean who don’t quite understand that if you – or your dog – makes a mess you clear up behind you.

Only last week we carried pictures of the clean-up operation to remove drink cans, plastic bags, barbecues and bottles from Southsea Common. Seventeen truckloads in just one day.

It was a similar situation in Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent.

So what can we do?

Fines already exist for these crimes against the community and more severe punishments have been called for.

All well and good, but these need to be enforced and people brought to book before people pay any attention to them.

Maybe some high-profile operations could be launched to catch people red-handed the next time there is a hot weekend, when these clean-up teams know there will be a mountain of mess left behind again.

We would be more than happy to support the process by naming and shaming anyone caught.

It might just help to start to spread the word that litter louts will not be tolerated and will be dealt with, while we work on the fundamental issue of changing the culture to one where people realise that their mess is their responsibility to deal with.