Video: Havant litter wardens accused of harassing smokers

Three people were reported to be stuck in mud off Hayling Island

Three people rescued after becoming stuck in mud off Hayling Island

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A NEWSAGENT has reacted with anger to the success of what she calls the ‘smoking police’.

Havant Borough Council revealed that almost 2,300 fines have been given out in under six months for dropping cigarette butts and rubbish and dog fouling.

Havant Borough Council is clamping down on litter in the streets

Havant Borough Council is clamping down on litter in the streets

While some traders say the streets are looking cleaners Amanda Howard, whose family owns D&B White Newsagents in North Street, said she believes the enforcement officers are being heavy-handed.

‘I don’t think they are really wardens – they are smoking police,’ said Mrs Howard.

‘They are deliberately targeting cigarette smokers.

‘They are intimidating and they are not bringing business into the town.

‘They follow people. They stand outside Tesco and follow them, deliberately trying to catch them.

‘This is not about litter, this is about smokers.

‘I know it’s illegal to drop stuff on the floor, but we are being targeted as the figures prove.

‘2,300 people have fines, of which 2,209 are for cigarette butts and 65 for litter -– that can’t be right.

‘You go to Havant park and it’s horrendous – it’s covered in litter.

‘These people are hounding the public.’

She added that customers are being put off of coming into Havant because they feel they are being penalised.

But Councillor Tony Briggs, in charge of environment, said enforcement is working.

‘The basic principle behind the deployment of Kingdom is to provide a highly visible, cost-effective, uniformed deterrent to littering,’ said Cllr Briggs.

‘The officers patrol the areas of highest demand, like town centres, as identified by the amount of litter seen in the street.

‘We would welcome any support that businesses felt able to provide to this initiative as our overarching aim is to make Havant a more attractive place to do business and to improve the quality of our neighbourhoods and litter is a very visible manifestation of an area in decline’