SMOKERS have been fined for dropping cigarette butts as part of a council crackdown.

Litter enforcement officers have patrolled streets in Brighton and Hove.

They have the power to issue on-the-spot £75 fines to litterbugs.

Officers carried out a two-week campaign warning people not to drop litter or cigarette butts.

More than 1,000 people were approached during the two-week period to warn them they could face tough penalties.

Council bosses now want to send a tough message to stop others blighting the city.

The authority said: “Littering our city is against the law and there can be no excuse for it.

“People should hold on to cigarette butts and other items until they can dispose of them properly.”

On Wednesday, six people were named at Brighton Magistrates’ Court for dropping cigarette butts in the city.

Their offences relate to a crackdown in October last year around Jubilee Street, Churchill Square and Western Road in the city centre.

The first was issued to Rebecca Rana, of Roundhouse Crescent, Peacehaven, for dropping a cigarette butt on October 9. Magistrates found the charge of breaching the Environmental Protection Act proved in her absence.

They ordered the 31-year-old to pay a £75 fine and to pay a £30 victim surcharge and £100 court costs.

Cases were also found proven in the absence of five others.

On October 19 officers stopped Luke Brace, 36, of Bramley Road, Worthing, Ami Cole, 22, of North Road, Lancing, and Sofia Velasquez, 24, of Bedford Square, Brighton, for dropping cigarette butts at Churchill Square.

Cathy Johns, 52, of Salisbury Road, Hove, was stopped on October 24 in Churchill Square.

Finally Emily Andrews, 32, of Gladstone Terrace, Brighton, dropped a cigarette butt in Jubilee Street on October 31 and was stopped.

Magistrate Chris Bell, chairman, ordered the five to pay £75 fines, £30 victim surcharges, and £100 court costs.

Brighton and Hove City Council says the cigarette butts can wash into storm drains and cause blockages.

The authority said: “The recent prosecutions were cases where, despite reminders, a £75 fixed penalty notice was issued but not paid.

“We would much rather littering didn’t happen in the first place, and we are working to educate residents and visitors on keeping our city’s streets clean. But we will also not hesitate to prosecute littering offences when we have the evidence we need in order to do so.”

Litterbugs face £75 fines while flytippers face £300 fines.