A PILOT scheme to crackdown on littering and dog fouling in Darlington saw 574 fixed penalty notices issued in the first three months of the project.

Darlington Borough Council said 92 per cent of the £75 fines between October 1 and December 31 were issued within the town centre.

A spokesman for the authority said 559 of the notices were issued for discarding cigarette ends, 14 for other littering offences and only one was issued for dog fouling.

Before December 31, 66 appeals against the notices had been received, of which 19 have been upheld.

The council spokesman said the authority had not had a positive experience with the private firm it had contracted to run the scheme and the public had expressed a view that the contract should not continue after the pilot.

He added two major retailers in Darlington had expressed strong opposition to continuing with the service, and that officers were recommending to members not to continue with the pilot after March 31.


The following comments were left on The Northern Echo Facebook page

Amy Murray: "The only ones who complain are the ones who make the mess. It may help to remind them to dispose of litter the correct way and to take some pride in where they live. Same should be done for people who do not pick their dog mess up and dispose of it in bins."

Christine Cole: "Why is it unpopular? Only by those who have got caught."

Ben Stuart: "High Row has never been so tidy. Huge difference - keep it up!"

Moira Coley: "It will only be unpopular with those affected or those who do not see litter as a problem. Keep it going."

Steven James Tait: "I think the town centre is tidier. However on my estate which isn't in the town centre dog dirt is the issue and only one fine has been issued for that. If you don't litter or drop fag butts you won't get a fine - it's really that simple. Keep the scheme."

Carl Potter: "Shame they can't come round where I live! Whoever issues the tickets would have a nice bonus by the end of the week for people not thinking they need to pick up mess left by dogs!"

Jamie Johnson: "It’s unpopular because they chase you, follow you. An old lady pulled out a tissue and a sweet wrapper fell out of her pocket, she didn’t realise. They grabbed her by the arm and fined her. Sorry but this is shocking, there has been other cases where people have accidentally dropped litter without realising and have even pulled people out of the shops. 
"They cannot drag you out of a shop to fine you. That’s why businesses are calling for a stop because people won’t want to come into the town when they are scared to do anything and get a fine."