WREXHAM Council has been urged to end its contract with controversial litter enforcement firm Kingdom with immediate effect.

The Plaid Cymru group of councillors have put forward a motion calling on the authority to stop using the firm to issue fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling.

Its members have raised concerns about the number of vulnerable people in the county, who they claim have been handed £75 fines by Kingdom staff.

It comes as new figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 8,173 fines have paid between April 2016, when the company started operating in Wrexham, and May of this year.

Of those 435 were appealed or representations made, including 130 on the grounds that they were issued to a vulnerable person, while 2,090 people were sent to court for failing to pay.

Group leader councillor Marc Jones said: "This is the first time, as far as we're aware, that a motion has been put forward by ordinary councillors to the executive board.

"It's being done because we believe the Kingdom contract is ignoring the council's own policies and guidelines. The Plaid Cymru group believes the council's ongoing use of Kingdom is putting the authority at risk.

"Only today I have been informed of two new cases - one including an autistic person who was in the process of putting out a cigarette - incorrectly served with a fixed penalty notice by Kingdom. We're investigating these and hope to be able to resolve them without legal action.

"Other councils across the region have dumped Kingdom. We believe Wrexham Council must do the same for reasons we'll outline to the executive board on Tuesday."

Councillors in neighbouring Flintshire recently recommended to their council's cabinet members not to renew their contract with Kingdom after accusing them of 'overbearing behaviour'.

However, in Conwy members were split down the middle over whether to extend theirs this week after officers told a meeting that the firm's staff had been "polite and courteous at all times" in the county.

Wrexham councillors have previously expressed their unease about what they claimed was an 'over concentration on cigarette butts' as opposed to dog fouling, and whether problems nationally with Kingdom highlighted by the BBC's Panorama programme applied locally.

In response to the number of appeals made regarding fines to vulnerable people, a Wrexham Council spokesman said each case was considered on its own merits.

They said: "Any evidence that is submitted or representation content is considered.

"The issuing officer is spoken to with regards to their observations of the situation, and body camera footage of the interaction between offender and

officer reviewed. If considered appropriate the fixed penalty notice is withdrawn.

"In relation to vulnerable persons - officers do not issue fixed penalty notices on the Wrexham Maelor Hospital grounds and this is at their request."