Seagulls and vermin tearing into rubbish bags could force people pay £75 fines.

Eastbourne Borough Council is adopting a new law to stop people leaving their rubbish out in bin bags which birds, rats and foxes claw apart to scavenge.

The move comes after photographs of Pevensey and Susans Roads littered with household rubbish were shown to councillors.

They say the problem is caused by residents not putting bin bags in the wheelie bins provided or overfilling them so they cannot close.

New Government legislation coming into force in August means council officers will be able to root though the rubbish to identify the culprits and hand out on-the-spot fines of £75.

Councillor David Elkin said he visited Susans Road on Monday and was horrified by the litter and waste strewn along the road and the over-flowing wheelie bins.

Most areas have a collection once a week but the Pevensey and Susans Roads area is visited almost on a daily basis due to fly-tipping.

Coun Elkin said: "People regularly leave black bags out on the street and expect us to clear them and unfortunately we have to because it would be worse to leave them there.

"The other problem is some people have to put the rubbish out the night before the collection through no fault of their own. But this is when the rodents, foxes and seagulls attack them. We have to work with the residents who can't use the wheelie bins to resolve this issue.

"Residents also need to recycle more as this would cut down on the rubbish in the bags and the free-of-charge recycling boxes can be stored indoors."

Residents were happy to hear about the on-the-spot fines but were concerned about the council targeting the wrong people.

Yvonne Burrell, chairman of the Pevensey Road Neighbourhood Association, said: "We support the £75 fine because unless it is going to hurt it won't make any difference, but we are concerned how they will find the culprits.

"The problem is particularly bad at this time of year with the smells and the seagulls, and Eastbourne is known to have a rat problem. People are creating too much rubbish and not recycling. We need some high-profile prosecutions to make people realise they have a responsibility to their neighbourhood."

Another resident of Pevensey Road, Eileen, who refused to give her last name, said: "The seagulls are the problem.

"A lot of residents won't get up early enough to put the bins out in the morning so they do it the night before and that's when the animals attack.

"If the council gives people fair warning I think the fines could work."