ENVIRO-CRIME is being tackled by a new team in Waltham Forest who will take to the streets to find people spitting, dropping cigarettes and urinating.

A new team of environment officers have been tasked with bringing down the amount of  littering, fly-posting, spitting and urinating in public around the borough.

The team, led by a manager from NSL, the contractor that already provides parking services to the borough, began a nine month trial this month.

Last year Waltham Forest Council officers handed out 800 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to people caught committing enviro-crimes offences.

“As you can imagine this involved a lot of work by our enforcement officers and other back-office staff,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment.

“We have no desire to rein back on this – in fact quite the opposite – but we did recognise it was detracting from the time and resources we had to concentrate on more complex work.”

The Council spends more than £5million on cleaning the borough’s streets, parks and open spaces.

Recent research has revealed that smoking related rubbish makes up more than a third of litter, the council said.

“I think some smokers do need to get with the times,” said Cllr Loakes.

“A couple of decades ago dog owners would not routinely pick up after their pets, whereas today the vast majority take responsibility and carry bags.

“Dropping your cigarette butt in the street is littering, plain and simple, and you will get fined. If you still do it, then frankly it’s time to clean up your act.”