Brighton and Hove's biggest clubs and restaurants are turning the city into a tip and driving away tourists.

The Honey Club, The Zap and The Beach nightclubs, the Fortune of War pub and Pizza Hut are among those being blamed for damaging the city's reputation and creating massive eyesores by leaving excessive trade waste outside their premises on a regular basis.

They were among a large number of companies and businesses caught and fined hundreds of pounds yesterday in a town hall crackdown.

Michael Logue, Brighton and Hove City Council enforcement officer, said: "Quite clearly this is damaging the city's reputation. Many of these people are repeat offenders and totally flout the rules to the detriment of the city."

The problem is diverting thousands of man hours every year to clearing up.

It is also a serious menace to pedestrians and children and contributing to an upsurge in the seagull population.

Among the items The Argus found strewn across the streets during the early-morning city council blitz yesterday were: smashed glass and rusting nails mangled beer cans badly decomposed food cardboard and paper, which should be recycled dumped along with other rubbish.

The problem occurs when businesses fail to secure their rubbish in lockable trade waste bins - an offence which can lead to prosecution.

Seagulls and animals quickly split open the rubbish bags, spewing out the contents.

On other occasions rubbish is simply being dumped on the streets or put in unsuitable domestic waste containers.

The Honey Club, The Zap and The Beach, on Brighton seafront, have received warnings before and were among those fined yesterday. Also fined were Me Old China restaurant, the Fortune of War, Pizza Hut, Louis Cafe, Zone Bar, and The Bright Helm.

Pizza Hut has also received warnings in the past about its rubbish and was yesterday issued with a "containerisation"

notice, which means it will be kept under surveillance and any further offence is likely to result in a court case.

The city council issued nine fixed penalty notices totalling £700 in an hour yesterday.

City councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: "It is disappointing there are still high profile businesses in the city who continue to abuse their trade waste responsibilities.

"Dumping trade waste is not only bad for the city, it's bad for business and the actions of these irresponsible traders affect every other business operating in the vicinity. There are also very clear health and safety concerns."

By far the biggest amount of rubbish found during the time The Argus joined yesterday's blitz was at the rear of the Zone Bar in Ardingly Street.

Numerous bags of rubbish from the premises and others were spewing on to the street just yards from homes and a doctor's surgery.

Debris was strewn across the seafront in front of The Honey Club, The Zap, Fortune of War and Louis Cafe.

Boxes of rubbish were piled up illegally outside The Bright Helm, West Street, and also at the rear of Pizza Hut in Queen's Square.

Mr Logue accepts that some leakage of rubbish from bags is inevitable when large flocks of seagulls descend on the city.

But businesses must take "practical steps" to prevent leakage wherever possible.

He said: "We get all sorts of excuses from people who say they didn't put the rubbish out in that state but at the end of the day it is their business and they are making vast profits from the city in most cases so they have to take responsibility for their rubbish.

"We will continue to take this sort of action until the problem stops."

Zheng Zheng Luo, manager of Me Old China in West Street, said: "It's the seagulls. They break open the bags."

Katie Gorman, assistant manager of Louis Cafe in Kings Road Arches, said: "It wasn't our rubbish. It must have been used by someone else because it had eggs and beer in it, which we don't sell."

All the other businesses affected yesterday refused to comment or were unavailable for comment.

The city venues fined over rubbish
Businesses which were fined by Brighton and Hove City Council yesterday morning:

  • Zap Club - Kings Road Arches (£75)
  • Me Old China - West Street (£75)
  • Fortune of War - Kings Road Arches (2 X £75)
  • Pizza Hut - Dyke Road (£75 and Containerisation Notice for 12 months)
  • Louis Cafe - Kings Road Arches (£75)
  • Zone Bar - St James Street (£75)
  • Honey Club - Kings Road Arches (£100 for breach of Containerisation Notice)
  • The Bright Helm (formerly Wetherspoons), West Street - (£75)
    Previous warnings for premises:
  • Honey Club - nine previous fines for fly-posting around the city centre. One fine and a containerisation notice for trade waste
  • Zone Bar - three previous formal warnings
  • Pizza Hut - three previous formal warnings
  • Zap Club - Thirty-one previous fines for saturation fly-posting around the city. One previous fine for trade waste incident.
  • Me Old China - Three previous formal warnings
  • Louis Beach Cafe - One previous formal warning
  • The Bright Helm - two previous fines for trade waste offences

So, what does the law say about trade waste?
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 businesses are required to double bag rubbish and put it in a suitable, designated and locked container. Areas around trade bins must be washed and kept clear of debris.

Rubbish must not be left out in anything other than designated trade waste containers.

Practical measures must be taken to ensure rubbish does not escape from bags.

Is £75 enough to deter the litter bugs who blight our streets? Leave your thoughts below.
Watch our video report about the growing litter problem here.