More than 800 people have received fines for breaking environmental laws in County Durham in the last 12 months.
Neighbourhood Wardens (officials who deal with offences such as fly-tipping, dog fouling and low-level anti-social behaviour) have issued 803 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) fines for environmental crimes since April 2016.
Of those who were given the fines, 43 didn’t pay and so were taken to court by Durham County Council.
Durham County Council’s head of direct services, Oliver Sherratt, said, “Environmental crimes have a significant impact on our communities and our day-to-day lives.”
“We want to encourage people to change their bad habits, so our first approach is always to educate.”
“These latest figures show that in almost 95% of cases, people pay an FPN and we don’t need to take further action. However, where we do need to pursue people through the courts, we will do so.”
Since April 2016, 498 people have received FPNs for littering, with 25 of those individuals being taken to court for failing to pay.
During the same period, Neighbourhood Wardens issued 55 warning letters and 42 FPNs to people for not cleaning up after their dogs. In total, wardens dealt with 770 complaints about dog fouling.
12 FPNs were handed out for fly-tipping, with two people being prosecuted for non-payment.
Neighbourhood Wardens have also dealt with 2,367 complaints about untidy gardens and yards, 1,452 reports of stray dogs, 480 complaints about stray or tethered horses, and 1,213 reports of abandoned vehicles.
You can report environmental crimes by telephoning 03000 261 000 or by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/neighbourhoodwardens.
Durham County Council have been making considerable efforts to make County Durham a safer, cleaner and greener place to live.
Recently, County Durham residents overwhelmingly approved a council plan to tackle problems caused by irresponsible dog owners. In addition, the council’s Big Spring Clean programme – in which communities get together to organise litter picks – is currently underway.