YOBS in Sheffield are being allowed to ‘get away’ with littering and dog fouling - as figures showed the city has issued a paltry number of fines and prosecutions compared with neighbouring areas.
Just 87 fixed penalty fines, 13 prosecutions for littering, and four fixed penalty fines for dog fouling were issued in Sheffield during 2010/11.
In neighbouring Doncaster, meanwhile, 3,000 fines were issued, 300 prosecutions were launched for littering, and there were 100 fines and two prosecutions for dog fouling.
Barnsley, Rotherham and Chesterfield also took action in many more cases than Sheffield.
The total number of fines and prosecutions made by Sheffield Council was 104 - compared to 3,342 in Doncaster, 483 in Rotherham, 388 in Chesterfield and 281 in Barnsley.
Pedestrians and park users said the figures in Sheffield were ‘a disgrace’.
Jenny Mills, aged 41, from Beauchief, said: “More definitely needs to be done to prevent dog fouling. I walk down Abbey Lane to take my children to school and it is a serious problem. There are signs but no-one seems to take any notice.
“I would like to see more fixed penalties handed out as it is a real hazard, especially for youngsters.”
Richard McCormick, aged 20, from Nether Edge, said: “Litter is a serious problem and especially so in the city centre.
“People visiting notice it and really the city is letting itself down, so I would be in favour of more prosecutions.
“Many other suburbs of the city are very clean, but in town it is rough. I’m surprised more action isn’t being taken.”
Mick Daniels, chairman of Brushes Tenants’ and Residents’ Association in Firth Park, said: “Litter and dog fouling is disgusting. The figures about how few are fined or prosecuted do not surprise me at all.
“The council is letting offenders get away with it.”
John Brighton, secretary of The Friends of Millhouses Park group, said: “I wish the council would up its game. The staff of the parks do a superb job but we have bad a huge battle in Millhouses Park just to get the council to implement a ‘no dog’ policy in the play area.
“It took an 18-page petition with hundreds of signatures before signs were put up.
“The council needs to catch and pursue offenders for littering and dog fouling.”
And Harry Hunter, of The Friends of Greenhill Park, said: “The figures speak for themselves and are even more stark if you factor in the relative population sizes.”
Mr Hunter said he first became aware of the amount of dog fouling in his park when he started running youth football coaching. He revealed that at the 2010 Lowedges Festival there were 15 complaints about dog filth.
“In discussing the issue with other community representatives, I am assured they are equally concerned about dog fouling in Green Oak Park in Totley, Dore Recreation Ground, and the green spaces and pavements on the Lowedges estate.”
He also called on Sheffield to adopt a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to litter, a stance taken by Rotherham and Doncaster.
Nick Chaplin, Sheffield Council’s environmental protection manager, said: “Aside from direct enforcement, there are a range of other measures the council may use including patrols, clear signs, and talking to dog owners and walkers to encourage responsible dog ownership.
“We have undertaken targeted action in some areas where problems are reported as well as taking enforcement action when staff are out and about, where our resources allow.
“We do not tolerate anti-social behaviour and, where offences of dog fouling and littering are detected, we will issue fixed penalty notices and where necessary prosecute in court.
“We will also be talking to the local Community Assemblies to understand better their priorities. We are currently reviewing how we can better tackle such issues across the city to respond to local concerns.
“In the last year we have done a lot of work with over 700 traders across the city to ensure their litter is minimised. These had been raised as priority areas by the council, and as such we will make a larger impact on littering and dog fouling this year.”
IN NUMBERS - ACTION AGAINST LITTER AND DOG FOULING 2010/11
Fines for dog fouling
Prosecutions for dog fouling
Fines for littering
Prosecutions for littering