The council is losing the war on litterbugs on Brighton and Hove’s beaches.

Just two on-the-spot fines have been handed to litterers across the city in the past two-and-a-half years.

This comes as The Argus continues to campaign for people to take their litter home with them with our Take It Home Campaign.

The figures also follow photos of the rubbish-strewn beach in Brighton making national headlines and shaming the city.

The council said unless it had dedicated patrols backed by police or PCSOs there was little it could do to prevent people littering the beaches and elsewhere.

Instead it said the best use of its £5.2m street cleaning budget was clearing the litter as quickly as possible.

But residents will continue to be aghast at images of broken glass and abandoned barbecues on the city’s beaches left behind by thoughtless individuals.

Enforcement issue

A council spokesman said: “The fact is that while litterbugs are required by law to give personal details to authorised council officers, when they refuse there’s nothing we can do.

“We’ve occasionally been out with PCSOs, which does secure details.

“But the city would need to decide whether it wanted its PCSOs or police officers accompanying council officers on permanent litter patrol.”

According to the council, there are only about a dozen officers authorised to issue the fines and enforcement is not their main job role.

Hove MP Mike Weatherley, whose office submitted the Freedom of Information request for the figures, accused the council of being too soft.

He said: “There is an overwhelming desire amongst the public for the Green council to take action by fining those who selfishly litter our beaches and parks.

“I suspect that town hall bureaucrats believe that a softly-softly approach works, yet the streets are filthy and the same people continue to make a mess without consequence.

“I have written to the Prime Minister for guidance on exactly what powers the council has in that regard.”

Brighton Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that people are still leaving mountains of rubbish behind on the beach and littering the city’s streets, so clearly we need deterrents to be enforced as fully as possible.

“What we also need to do is tackle the waste problem at the source, banning excessive packaging in supermarkets as well as introducing a ‘plastax’ on single use plastic bags.”