A 21-YEAR-OLD man has hit out at litter enforcement officers claiming they are 'abusing their powers' and leaving people fearful they will be fined for nothing.

Dhanyal Mahmud recorded himself being spoken to by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s new private contractor’s team Kingdom Environmental.

An enforcement officer accused him of dropping a cigarette butt outside the bus station last Wednesday.

However in the video Mr Mahmud claims he only ‘put out’ his cigarette with his fingers before walking into the bus station, with the stub still in his hand.

Council bosses said their enforcement campaign ‘is proving to be successful’ since it launched last month.

Mr Mahmud said he was followed into the station by officers who said he ‘committed an offence’ and then asked for his details after accusing him of dropping the cigarette.

Following an argument police were called to the scene but Mr Mahmud continued to argue he had done nothing wrong and pointed out his cigarette butt was still in his hand.

The officer pointed out another cigarette butt on the ground but Mr Mahmud stated it did not belong to him as his was in his hand.

He escaped without a fine from the incident, but has criticised the enforcement officers who tried to penalise him.

Mr Mahmud, from Blackburn, said: “I did nothing wrong, the cigarette was in my hand the whole time.

“They’re trying to force fear in the publics eyes.

“It’s an abuse of power.

“It is showing what the council is really like.

“There’s murders, drugs and vehicle crimes going on, the police have better things to do.

“All this for a cigarette butt, it wasn’t a gun or a knife.”

In the video the policeman told the litter enforcement officer he ‘can’t be called out every time someone drops a cigarette butt’.

The incident ended with Mr Mahmud putting his cigarette butt in the bin and being told by the officer to ‘go in peace’.

Tony Watson, head of service for environment and public protection at the council, said: “Dog fouling and littering are a constant source of complaints to the council, and the current enforcement campaign is proving to be successful in keeping the streets clean.

“This is a 12 month pilot that will see people who are caught failing to clean up after their dog, dropping litter, cigarette stubs or chewing gum, issued with an on-the-spot Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) by our enforcement officers.”

Last month council bosses teamed up with Kingdom Environmental, whose teams 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.

This is not the first instance of complaints since the programme was enforced.

Chef Jamie Evans said two enforcement officers used ‘heavy handed tactics’ as he claimed he was followed after he lit up a cigarette.

Darwen resident Roy Lawrenson is also refusing to pay a £75 fine for dropping a cigarette butt on the floor outside Morrisons store on Railway Road, Blackburn.