THOUSANDS of people have been issued fines for dropping cigarettes in the last seven months.

Figures show 2,534 fixed penalty notices have been issued by Kingdom enforcement officers since the start of an agreement with Wrexham Council to crack down on littering in the county.

In monetary terms, the penalties issued add up to a staggering £190,050 for dropping cigarette butts alone between April and October.

In total, 2,768 fixed penalty notices were issued over the period, though 322 were withdrawn or cancelled.

When a FPN is issued the individual concerned can pay the penalty and this will discharge liability for the offence that they have committed or can choose to challenge the notice that has been issued.

If that challenge is accepted then the notice will be cancelled with no further action being taken.

If the challenge is rejected then the individual can either pay or choose to further challenge the notice at court.

Over the same seven month period, there have been 671 prosecutions.

The report, which details the performance of Kingdom since April, will be discussed by homes and environment scrutiny committee members when they meet on Wednesday.

In April 2016, the council engaged the services of Kingdom for a 12 month pilot period.

In light of the experience and success gained from the pilot, the council approved the procurement of a private partner with a proven track record in the enforcement of environmental crime on a two-year contract, with an option to extend to three years.

The partner was sought on the basis of a no-fee financial model with all costs of the service being met through the issuing of FPNs.

A full tender process was undertaken and Kingdom were appointed to deliver the contract in partnership with the council.

In a report to go before the committee, Darren Williams, service manager for the environment department, said: “Despite significant efforts by the Council over many years, environmental crime, and particularly dog fouling and littering, remain an issue and an area of concern for Wrexham’s communities.

Wrexham Council and Kingdom’s enforcement team work hard to ‘educate’ the public at every opportunity about the reasons for taking environmental enforcement.

”Proactive campaigns have been introduced and actively marketed including the ‘bin it to win it’ scheme rewarding positive litter behaviour.

”The team also engage in other activities including; replacing signage, liaison with local communities about litter ‘hot spots’ and particular issues and are currently dedicating officers to complete some focused work on dog fouling and dog control, particularly earlier and later in the day.

”This is in addition to utilising intelligence provided by elected members and the public to ensure that patrols take place at the right times.“

Mr Williams added: “The most significant risk to the council is public perception resulting from a more proactive approach to the enforcement of littering and dog fouling offences.

”Over the years, there have been a number of negative reports in the national press concerning the alleged overzealous nature of private enforcement companies, particularly in relation to the handling of the more vulnerable members of the community (ie elderly and young people).

”Kingdom do not issue penalty notices to under 18s.”

The meeting at the Guildhall in Wrexham will start at 1pm on Wednesday.