The number of fines dished out to litter louts has increased five-fold in a year – after this photo of rubbish-strewn Sheffield sparked a crackdown.
The Star published the picture of Devonshire Green littered with bottles, cans, takeaway cartons, food wrappers and even disposable barbecues after the first warm weather of last spring.
Sheffield Council issued just 77 fines in the whole of 2011/12 and had no dedicated workers issuing fines for litter.
But after The Star exposed the extent of the problem, the council took on two part-time staff to patrol hotpots and issue fines.
And the result has been a huge increase in the number of £75 fixed penalty notices – to 376 in the 2012/13.
Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, Coun Jack Scott, said: “The vast majority of people act responsibly and know not to drop litter.
“But a small number of people persist in littering parts of our green city and that is simply not acceptable.
“That’s why Labour took action to make fining litterbugs a priority.
“As well as issuing more fines, I think the fines need to be even higher. We will be talking with the people of Sheffield about this in the near future and consulting to get their views.
“We are cracking down on this problem hard. The message is clear – if you drop litter, you will be fined.”
The single member of staff, patrolling to catch people dropping litter or not clearing up dog mess, was axed during cuts in the 2010/11 financial year.
Fines for litter and dog fouling had declined steadily in the years before 2011/12, from 211 in 2008/09 to 132 in 2009/10 and 103 in 2010/11.
Coun Scott said the council has also taken action outside the city centre where there have been complaints about litter and fly-tipping.
In Fir Vale, waste ground where homes were demolished for redevelopment on Skinnerthorpe Road was covered with waste which had been dumped illegally.
But a CCTV camera has been erected to catch offenders and the ground cleaned up.
Coun Scott added: “The figures show that our decision to get tough is having a big impact – with more fines issued last year than ever before.
“We are also reviewing the level of fines and will bring forward plans in the near future to raise them.”