A COUNCIL says “it’s time to get serious” as it cracks down on littering.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s anti-litter team will be issuing fines of up to £300 to anyone who is caught dumping rubbish.

The fixed penalty notices are £75 for littering and £300 for fly-tipping.

Over the last fortnight the officers have issued warnings to about 1,500 businesses to “remind them of their legal responsibilities on getting rid of their waste”.

They have also spoken to about 1,000 residents, tourists and students.

The council said: “Now it’s time to get serious with people who are causing a blight on our city by dropping their cigarette butts or litter, or leaving unwanted items on the street, open land or beside a bin – even in the hope someone takes it away.

“Action will also be taken against smokers who think throwing a cigarette butt down a drain isn’t littering as it can add to clogging up our drainage system.”

The anti-litter officers joined the council after its contract with controversial company 3GS ended.

The council revealed that it had received feedback that some people found the 3GS black uniform intimidating, so it has now been replaced with a light-blue jacket and black trousers.

The officers will still wear video cameras for the public’s and their own protection, and can use any footage if fines are disputed.

Contractor 3GS had faced public criticism until it was taken over by London-based law enforcement company the Red Snapper Group, which carried out a “root and branch”review of the service.

Councillor Gill Mitchell said previously: “Council officers carried out extensive research into the legal and financial implications and we believe it would be very beneficial to the council, our residents, business and tourists to completely run the service ourselves, tailored to the city’s needs.

“It will mean we can target the enforcement of litter, including dog fouling, fly-tipping, cigarette butts and chewing gum, much better and have more control over the way the service and staff operate.”