More than 20 people have been convicted after refusing to pay fines for environmental crimes in Waltham Forest.

The borough council launched a nine-month trial in November 2015, which saw environmental officers from contractors NSL has out fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for littering offences.

Agents have so far dished out nearly 3,500 FPNs. The FPN carries a fine of £80, reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days of being issued.

Although the majority of offenders paid fines accordingly, a small number ignored penalty notices and instead received a court summons.

The first batch of prosecutions took place last month, with the majority of offenders being ordered to pay a fine of £100 plus costs of £150.

A small number of cases were adjourned and will be heard later this month.

Deputy council leader, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “These convictions show how serious we are about wiping out enviro-crime in Waltham Forest.

“The majority of our residents respect the local environment and take great pride in their communities, and we won’t let a few irresponsible people ruin that for everyone else.”

The majority of fines were issued to people caught dropping cigarette butts, but there were also prosecutions for spitting and dropping chewing gum.

Cllr Loakes added: “It’s about time some cigarette smokers learnt to clean up after themselves”,

“Dropping cigarette butts, chucking chewing gum and spitting are all disgusting habits, and if we have to take people to court to stop from doing it in our borough, then frankly that is that we will continue to do.”

NSL officers involved in the initiative wear bodycams that they turn on whenever they spot a potential perpetrator in order to corroborate any disputes over fines.