Just two people fined for littering ... in one year!

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IT’S time to hammer litter louts, dodgy dog owners and vandals in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and local villages.

That’s the plea after a Herald investigation into ‘quality of life’ concerns.

The Herald can reveal:

* Just two people were fined by the council for littering in 12 months, while a dirty dozen were fined for not cleaning up after their dogs.

* The council was called out to tackle 1,345 graffiti incidents and 164 cases of fly-tipping in 2009-10.

* Ten people were hit with a £100 fixed penalty for anti-social noise in 2009/10 – with warnings issued to 171.

* A total of 81 abandoned cars were also dealt with by the council.

Cutbacks announced last year saw the number of Community Support Officers – who could issue fines for ‘quality of life’ issues – slashed from 10 to four.

They are now known as environmental wardens and have a much broader range of duties.

Concerned councillor David Ritchie said: “It looks like you have more chance of winning the Lottery than being fined for littering the streets of East Dunbartonshire.

“The decision to axe the majority of the Community Support Officers has been shown to have been completely wrong and it’s our communities that are suffering.”

However, council leader Rhondda Geekie insisted: “Removing litter and graffiti as quickly as possible continues to be our goal – especially in town centres.

“The council has had to deliver these services differently because of reduced budgets.

“Suggestions have been made by an MSP in the Borders about residents adopting streets to report problems or arrange clean-ups, but I am unsure if this would work – although it may be worth considering.”

Kenny Simpson, head of housing and community services at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The council can issue on-the-spot fines for a number of civil offences such as littering, fly-tipping, noise pollution and anti-social behaviour amongst others.

“The statistics available on public perceptions of people feeling safe have been consistent over the past two years and since the restructuring of teams with responsibility for dealing with these issues.

“There are a range of educational campaigns that the council has led on issues such as litter, fly-tipping, vandalism and graffiti – and these have been successful.”