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Ashford litter wardens hand out £160k worth of fines

By Aidan Barlow

Litter wardens have handed out more than £150,000 in fines after their first year patrolling the streets for a local authority in Kent.

The enforcement officers from the contractor Kingdom were brought in by Ashford Borough Council in September last year for a one-year scheme to take on those who blight the town with trash.

Now, figures from a Freedom of Information Act request show that 2,712 fixed penalty notices have been issued to litterbugs.

A grot spot in Ashford
A grot spot in Ashford

Wardens have been seen on patrol in the town centre, in parks, at out-of-town retail parks, and car parks since the scheme was introduced.

They were brought in after concerns that the softly-softly approach of putting out leaflets and educating children in school assemblies was simply making no impact on the levels of rubbish left strewn in public places.

Last year a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the council had issued NO fines in the previous three-and-a-half years.

The litter wardens in Ashford High Street
The litter wardens in Ashford High Street

The new figures also reveal that of the £158,375 collected, Kingdom has pocketed £122,232.50 while the council has taken £36,142.50.

That is despite concerns following a Panorama investigation, where litter wardens boasted about pocketing bonuses of up to £1,000 each month for issuing more fines.

The findings led to wardens being removed from patrolling the streets while they were “retrained”, and last month Maidstone Borough Council revealed it will not be renewing its contract with Kingdom.

A decision about the future of the council’s contract with Kingdom is expected imminently.

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