FLINTSHIRE Council looks set to end its contract with a controversial littering firm following a backlash over its ‘heavy handed’ tactics.

The authority’s cabinet is being asked to terminate the contract with Kingdom Services after a leading councillor said its approach to handing out fixed penalty notices was undermining the reputation of both organisations.

The trial period for the Cheshire-based enforcement company is due to come to an end on December 31, 2018 and councillors are being asked not to renew it when they meet on Tuesday, July 17.

They are also being requested to follow suggestions made by a scrutiny committee last month to bring the service back in house.

Councillor Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for streetscene and countryside, said: “Despite the fact that the vast majority of fixed penalty notices have been paid and uncontested, there has been a number of high profile cases recently where the circumstances behind the issuing of tickets has been contentious.

“These small number of cases are undermining the reputation of both the company and the authority and the arrangement is being seen as ‘heavy handed’ by many people.

“A number of town councils have also requested that Kingdom are not employed on enforcement activities in their own areas.”

During the last two years the company’s officers have issued more than 7,600 fixed penalty notices under a temporary contract, which was agreed in a bid to clean up the county.

The council said the £75 penalties are currently generating £20,000 a month, of which it keeps 15 per cent with the remaining amount being claimed by Kingdom.

It added that the cost of street and open space litter collections in Flintshire before January 2016 was in excess of £300,000 per year.

However, scrutiny members previously voiced their anger that the vast majority of notices issued (7,017) were for discarded cigarettes, compared to just 111 for dog fouling, with only 18 fouling offences punished during the last 12 months.

Before the end of the current arrangement, a further report will be received in September on plans for the future.

During the interim period the council will also be reviewing the ‘zero tolerance’ approach currently adopted.