Thousands of fines for littering, spitting and cycling on Bridge Street have been issued by a private enforcement agency brought into Peterborough by the city council.
Staff at Kingdom issued 2,973 fines of £80 in the first 96 days since they began patrolling two areas of the city, including the city centre.
The total includes 1,847 tickets for littering (at an average of 19 a day) and 915 for cycling in Bridge Street.
Another 15 fines were for failing to dismount from a cycle, 188 were for spitting, seven were for public urination and one was for dog fouling.
The council said 57 per cent of all fines, which are reduced to £60 if paid early, have been paid but that it expects the total to rise to 70 per cent.
A spokeswoman said if people do not pay the fines: “We will take these cases through the courts.”
Kingdom staff, who are part of the city’s Prevention and Enforcement Service, are patrolling two areas covered by a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPOs) on a trial basis. One PSPO covers the city centre and the other covers Millfield, New England, Gladstone, Eastfield, Lower Bridge Street and the Embankment.
The PSPOs prohibit a number of offences and allow designated officers to hand out Fixed Penalty Notices.
Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “We can say it’s been a great success thus far.” Conservative Cllr John Peach, member for Park ward which is covered by a PSPO, said: “It is good to see that Kingdom are out and about and sorting the problems we have.”
The city centre fines were issued between June 12 and September 16. The fines in the other area covered by the PSPO were issued between August 3 and September 16.
Richard McIlwain, deputy chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Littering is illegal and antisocial and if people flout the law they should expect to be punished.
“However, all enforcement must be done in line with national government guidelines and, for maximum impact, enforcement should also be combined with communication and education on the law and the penalties that apply to littering.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Nick Sandford said: “It should be serious incidents of fly-tipping they focus on, not small scale littering incidents. The fact is most people do not reside in the city centre.
“I would like the people that employ these guys to have a look around parts of Paston. There are major incidents of fly-tipping and I just think it illustrates a council that has its priorities wrong.”
Michael Smith from Gunthorpe and Teresa Murray from Warmington, who visits Peterborough city centre at least three times a week, both said they had not noticed a change in the amount of littering, but both supported the handing out of fines.
Michael told the PT: “I do not think it will ever change unless people are reeducated. If they do get fined it really is down to them because they should realise you can’t just go tossing rubbish.
“If everybody did that the town centre would be a tip.”
Teresa said: “I think it’s disgusting and anyone who does it should have a fine.
“When I come here I expect to see people doing it.
“I’ve seen people spitting, sticking chewing gum on posters and throwing crisp packets.
“It should be more than £100 to start with. Then the third time they should get hard labour for a week in prison.”