Kirklees Council’s private litter police have raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines in just four months.
A total of 2,853 people have been caught dropping rubbish since April, landing them a £75 fixed penalty notice in the process.
The staggering number – £213,975 in revenue – comes after the council admitted no-one had been caught for much of 2016/17 as it didn’t have any staff to patrol the streets.
In April it brought in controversial firm Kingdom on a 12-month trial to tackle the borough’s litter problem.
The figures indicate that the five strong team of enforcement officers are catching more than 20 litter louts each day.
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said not one of the 2,853 people issued tickets had succeeded in having their fine quashed.
A number have failed to pay and so the council has taken 71 cases to court.
It said on August 1 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court all 71 were found guilty of littering with 65 of them made to pay a £220 fine, £30 victim surcharge and £100 in costs.
The six remaining cases received a lesser fine but were still found guilty.
Council chiefs have hailed the clampdown as a success and revealed they are looking to keep the private enforcement system beyond the trial.
The council has refused to reveal the amount of cash it keeps and how much Kingdom gets.
It is has been reported in other areas that the Merseyside based firm takes £45 of each £75 fine.
If that is true in Kirklees then roughly £100,000 has been made for local taxpayers.
Clr Naheed Mather, cabinet member responsible for enforcement, said: “I am pleased that the trial is going so well because littering and other anti-social behaviour affect everyone.
“Not only does dealing with the litter cost the taxpayer money but the litter itself makes the area less attractive to live and work in.
“Unfortunately we know that ‘doing the right thing’ is not enough of a driver to encourage behaviour change, so we use enforcement.
“If the threat of a fine is what it takes to stop people littering then I think it’s worth it.
“My hope for the future is that the number of tickets issued decreases, not because it becomes less efficient, but because people take responsibility and dispose of waste correctly.
“Whilst we have yet to carry out a full evaluation, anecdotal evidence suggests that there has already been a reduction in litter dropped on our streets.
“Our additional success on prosecuting outstanding cases also demonstrates that these charges are serious, and that if you are caught it makes sense to pay up as soon as possible, rather than face a larger fine and additional costs in court.”
A council spokesperson added: “The scheme doesn’t cost the council anything and frees up officer time to concentrate on bigger issues like fly tipping and industrial waste enforcement.
“People can be fined for littering including dropping cigarette butts, and dog fouling, they can also be fined for not having a bag or other means for picking up dog waste.
“Due to the success the council will shortly be looking to start the procurement process to find a longer term partner.”
The Examiner revealed earlier this year that refusing to co-operate with the private enforcement officers is a criminal offence and you could be arrested.
The environmental protection company has been dubbed the “litter Stasi” by a national newspaper after it alleged over-zealous officers were giving out inappropriate fines.
They included to a man whose book mark had slipped out of his book, someone feeding ducks and someone who dropped a tiny fragment of orange peel.
A BBC Panorama investigation has also exposed some their controversial techniques, such as pretending to phone the police to intimidate people into paying the fine.