LITTER louts who drop rubbish including cigarette butts and chewing gum or fail to pick up after their dogs face being slapped with on the spot fines.

Council bosses said they were trying 'to take back the streets' of Blackburn with Darwen and stop them being tarnished by the 'disgusting behaviour of a minority'.

The council has teamed up with Kingdom Environment Enforcement Services, who will patrol both Blackburn and Darwen town centres, as well as parks, open spaces and problem areas, looking for those who fail to clean up after themselves.

Those caught littering will receive a fixed penalty of £75, while those failing to clean up dog foul will be fined £100, reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days.

The money made from the fines will pay for the enforcers and be spent on improving the area.

Enforcers wearing bodycams took to the streets of Blackburn yesterday for the first time and fined 12 people for discarding cigarette stubs.

Community leaders hailed the initiative, which already operates in Burnley, after receiving complaints from residents who were fed up with having to step around dog mess and litter on the streets.

Cllr Jim Smith, the borough's environmental boss, said: "Decent people in Blackburn and Darwen have simply had enough of this disgusting behaviour.

"This litter enforcement service is about taking back the streets for these law-abiding citizens and making offenders take responsibility for their actions.

“Time and time again people have told me that dog fouling and litter are important priorities for them.

"It can spoil streets and communities and is a blight for so many people.

"They have had enough of the selfish minority of people who spoil our neighbourhoods for everyone.

"The fine is a fair amount as some of that money will go into the health department to improve our parks and make our streets cleaner.

“So this is a warning for anyone who thinks they can leave their dog mess or drop litter and get away with it, you will likely end up with a big fine to pay.

“The simple thing is no one will get fined who does not drop litter.

"This is the council saying we have been warning you and will make you pay if you litter."

The 12-month pilot scheme will be self-financing, with the costs of enforcement being met from the income from the notices.

This latest initiatives come days after the council launched a campaign to rid Blackburn town centre of beggars.

Council bosses urged visitors to help break the begging cycle by donating to charity instead of handing cash to those living on the streets.

Martin McBurney, a Kingdom enforcement officer from Accrington, said: "We will be handing out fixed penalty notices to people who drop litter or fail to clean up dog foul in public spaces like parks or in the streets.

"Eventually society will become smoke free even at work.

"We have handed out 12 fines around Blackburn already. All of them were cigarette incidents.

"Eventually we hope to see no litter in the borough.

"No one wants to come to a town that's full of litter.

"I live in Accrington and they could do with it there too in my opinion."

Residents were divided on whether they thought the council's new initiative would help to keep the streets clean.

NHS worker Bari Hussain, 27, who lives in Little Harwood, said: "I do not think it's a good idea at all.

"We already pay council tax and we are working people.

"This is just a reason for people to pay more money to the council.

"I do not know why the fine has to be so excessive. £75 is a lot of money."

Hope Barnes, 26, who lives in Hindle Street, Darwen, said: "It's something the council thinks will help to stop people littering but will anyone actually listen?

"The council need to bring in more bins, not fine people.

"There are no bins in The Mall for instance so what do the council expect people to do."

John Smith, from Feniscowles, who had lived in the area for 70 years, said: "It's a good idea because a lot of people do not take the responsibility to clean up after their animals.

"If you have a child you clean up after them. You don't just leave the muck there.

"Why shouldn't dog owners do the same?

"It's detrimental to people in the town."