DOZENS of people who failed to pay on-the-spot £80 fines for dropping litter in Bradford have been taken to court by the Council and ordered to pay more than £20,000 in total.

Since July this year private enforcement officers have been operating in the district, handing out fixed penalty notices to those dropping litter or who let their dogs foul pavements.

In five months the team from private security firm 3GS have handed out 2,500 £80 notices, many of which were paid.

But those that ignored the demand have ended up being taken to court by Bradford Council.

Last week magistrates in the city dealt with cases against 55 people who had failed to pay a fixed penalty notice and had subsequently pleaded guilty by post to dropping litter.

The courts imposed a total of £12,296 in fines with £9,440 in costs, equating to an average of more than £395 each.

In addition each person convicted now also has a criminal record.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, the Council’s executive member for environment, sport and culture, warned people not to litter, but also not to ignore any on-the-spot fine.

She said: “The message is clear, don’t drop litter if you don’t want to get a fixed penalty notice but if you do get one, don’t ignore it because it won’t go away.

“The last thing we want to do is to give people a criminal record and drag them through the courts, but if behaviour doesn’t change, we don’t have much choice.

"If you are caught dropping litter, and you don’t pay the £80, then you will end up with a much more painful bill.

“Dropping litter and leaving it to blight our streets is just another form of anti-social behaviour. We just want people to stop and think about what they are going to do with their rubbish and dispose of it properly.”

The Council brought in the private firm in July in a bid to get tough on people who drop cigarette butts or chewing gum, let their dogs foul pavements, or urinate or spit in the street.

The zero tolerance approach also saw littering fines increased from £75 to £80 and an early payment discount scrapped.

Under the new contract, 3GS employ eight staff members in black enforcement officer uniforms seven days a week.

They are based at City Hall and focus on the city centre but may also patrol other litter hotspots across the district.

Until the contract with 3GS, council wardens had been responsible for handing out littering fines. A total of 106 fines were issued in 2015, dropping to 77 last year.