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Fifty Quid for Tossing a Butt 2007-06-02

Posted by clype in Glasgow, Intolerance, Scotland.
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More than 120 people have been fined for dropping rubbish in Glasgow since the city’s new anti-litter teams hit the streets.

The army of 30 uniformed enforcers, who wear stab-proof vests, started pounding the city centre in search of litter louts, fly-tippers and vandals eight days ago, issuing 50 GBP fixed penalties to those they catch.

The Evening Times Newspaper was invited to join two of the squad as they patrolled during a typical lunchtime.

Within 30 minutes, two smokers were caught throwing away their fag ends.

Senior warden Charlie Macklin said:

‘We are making a real difference on the streets. People are getting to know who we are and why we are here.

‘It will take time for the zero-tolerance message to sink in with everybody, but for those caught it is an expensive lesson.

‘Hitting these people in the pocket is the way to show how serious we are about cleaning up the city.’

After the two smokers were issued with their fixed penalties they admitted they would be binning their butts in future.

The male offender, who did not wish to be named, said:

‘I am embarrassed I have been caught.

‘I knew about the enforcers and that others had been issued with fines, so I feel silly. The wardens are only doing their jobs.’

However, the female shop worker, who also refused to be named, insisted she would not be paying her fine. Those who refuse to pay up could end up in court. She said:

‘I am outraged. Everybody chucks cigarettes on the street, so I do not know why I have been singled out.

‘There is no way I will be paying this fine —  they will need to put me in jail first.’

But she said she would be forced to change her behaviour. She added:

‘I suppose I will need to be more careful.’

The anti-litter teams mark the latest phase in the council’s 4 million GBP Clean Glasgow campaign.

Litter bosses said the first three months of the campaign was all about educating the public, but from now on they promised to get tough on those who drop rubbish.

Glasgow spends more than 16 million GBP/year cleaning up litter.

Mr.Ehab Rashad, who issued the new teams’ first fine, said he and his colleagues were getting a reaction from the public. He said:

‘Most of those issued with fines were shocked they had been caught.

‘Some were very embarrassed —  one man even thanked me for pointing out his mistake and giving him a fine.

‘Others have come up to say hello and say that they support what we are doing, which is great.

‘We realise not everyone will welcome us, especially those who cannot be bothered to bin their litter. But why should taxpayers pay for their mess?

‘We will continue to tackle them until the message gets through.’

Mr. Steven Purcell, Glasgow City Council leader, said:

‘We are very pleased at the impact the Clean Glasgow enforcement officers have made since taking to the streets last week.

‘The response from citizens to the enforcers and our zero tolerance approach to litter has been positive.

‘They are already being accepted as familiar figures.’

Teams are proud to make difference on the streets

As they walk confidently up Buchanan Street, the anti-litter team certainly look a force to be reckoned with.

Three teenagers eating pizzas stop munching as Charlie Macklin and Ehab Rashad watch them.

‘Mind no drap yer boax, mate,’ says one lad to another.

That is the exact reaction Charlie and Ehab hope to create.

They want to change the public’s perception, to make littering as unacceptable as smoking in pubs or not wearing a seat belt.

If they can’t get that far, they want to hit offenders where it hurts —  in the pocket.

If anyone can get the message across, it is this pair. Between them, they have 50 years’ experience of dealing with the public.

Charlie, an authoritative 55-year-old, spent 30 years in the Armed Forces. Ehab, originally from Egypt, has a sociology degree, has owned a restaurant and speaks fluent English, Arabic and Dutch. Most importantly, he is a passionate new Glaswegian.

‘I really want to make a difference,’ he says.

‘I am proud of Glasgow and want to make it cleaner for everyone who lives, works or visits.’

After Ehab issues one ticket, a passer-by approaches and congratulates him.

Robert Marshall, from Paisley, says he loves Glasgow and would welcome the enforcers in his home town.

‘These guys are fantastic,’ he says.

‘When I was young everyone was taught to take their litter home with them. The threat of a 50 GBP fine will make folk do just that.’

Later, after completion of another ticket, the crowd separates to let Ehab and Charlie through. Make no mistake, the enforcers are causing a stir.

The introduction of body armour-clad litter wardens has led to a threefold rise in fixed penalty notices in the first week of a crackdown in Glasgow. About 30 uniformed enforcement officers took to the city’s streets to hit offenders with 50 GBP on-the-spot fines.

In the first week of Clean Glasgow’s zero tolerance campaign, 120 fixed penalty notices were issued.

In the week before the launch 43 people were fined for littering, fly tipping, graffiti and dropping chewing gum.

Littering and other anti-social behaviour costs the city 16 million GBP/year to clean up.

Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell said:

‘The new “Clean Glasgow” enforcement teams are showing they mean business, and they won’t stop until we re-educate people who continue to act in this anti-social way.

‘The message is if you take part in litter, graffiti, fly tipping, fly posting, throw chewing gum or cigarette butts on pavements or fail to clean up after your dog, you will be caught and hit firmly in your pocket.

‘I am determined to make Glasgow the cleanest city in Europe.”

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