On-the-spot fines might deter worst offenders

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We have no doubt at all that our thousands of readers will see the problem of litter on Southsea beach in the same way as Matt Hopkins does: namely, that it is unsightly and unacceptable.

Mr Hopkins was moved to anger as he walked his dog along the shoreline early yesterday morning, only to discover that he was effectively having to negotiate his way through an assault course of rubbish. His picture of the disgusting mess, which we publish today, speaks volumes for the ignorance of the people responsible for it.

And this on a stretch of beach that is not usually the busiest part of the seafront, even when the sun shines as gloriously as it did on Sunday.

That marvellous weather encouraged people in their thousands to spend the day at the shore. The vast majority, of course, behaved perfectly responsibly and cleared up any litter before they left.

But yet again, it is the thoughtless minority who have let everyone down.

Portsmouth City Council was swift off the mark in clearing up the mess, but why should we have to employ people to rid the beach of litter, or clean up the common for that matter, or seek to repair the damage caused by carelessly-used barbecues?

The council should of course look at the provision of bins along the seafront to make sure there are enough, supplemented perhaps by extra black bags at particularly busy times.

And perhaps it is time for another public call to arms, similar to the successful Don’t Mess with Texas campaign in the US state in which Mr Hopkins was raised.

We are sure that would prick the conscience of some and help reduce the problem.

But ultimately, those who have no sense of responsibility need to be brought to book. How refreshing it would be to see those who left rubbish on the beach stopped in their tracks on the prom by council wardens empowered to hand out on-the-spot fines for littering. Maybe that would make a few more see sense.