LITTER louts could face being fined if they’re caught dropping rubbish, as staggering figures reveal ten tonnes of waste was collected in the last month.

With the growing problem plaguing our beloved nature spots, particularly as lockdown is eased, council bosses have been forced to step up enforcement action to blitz the problem once and for all.

The move, which will see enforcement officers patrolling parks across Basildon, comes after ten tonnes of litter was collected from sites across the borough in the last month.

With the hopes of prompting visitors to do the right thing and bin their waste or take it home with them if bins are full, enforcement officers will be at the ready to issue fixed penalty notices to anyone caught dropping litter. Leaving waste next to a bin can also result in an on-the-spot fine.

In recent weeks, Woodlands open space in Basildon, Gloucester Park and Lake Meadows, in Billericay, have all seen a noticeable rise in rubbish dropped on site.

Deputy leader of Basildon Council, Kerry Smith, said: “Littering in our parks and open spaces has to stop.

“There are a good many residents who are just as sick of it as we are. The smart move is to use the waste bins provided.”

Southend could also follow in Basildon’s footsteps, with council bosses considering putting similar action in place across the seaside town.

This comes after sun-seekers, families and day-trippers have not only continued to leave litter strewn across the borough’s beaches, but have also failed to bin their cans, packets and bottles when visiting spots like Chalkwell Park.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of Southend Council, said: “This is one of the things we are also considering to try and put a stop to this problem. It’s something that is being discussed.

“We always seem to have this issue through summer or when people visit our beaches, but it’s quite upsetting to see that recently it’s been happening nearly every day.

“It’s just not fair to our residents who have to pay for it to be cleared up, or to our Veolia officers who have to head out at 4am to clean it up.

“I don’t blame Basildon or any other authority who may have this solution in place, and if it’s given the go-ahead here it will have my full support.”

The council’s anti-littering Don’t be a Mug campaign, launched at the end of last month, urges visitors to take their rubbish home if a bin is full.

Southend Council leader Ian Gilbert added: “Increasing our enforcement is definitely in active consideration - I think we will have to wait until the weather is nice again to see the real impact of our campaign.”

Basildon Council is also hoping to crack down on anti-social behaviour. The Billericay and Wickford Community Policing Team will now take part in patrols to tackle the use of nitrous oxide canisters, cannabis, underage drinking and vehicles to cause harassment.