MORE than half of the fines handed out by East Ayrshire Council in the last year were ignored, leaving the council out of pocket.

During the year 2017- 2018, the council collected just £7,030 from fixed penalty notices out of a potential £15,010 for flytipping, smoking in bus stops and work vehicles, dog fouling and littering.

Cameras on a CCTV vehicle have helped catch the culprits in some instances and the council’s corporate enforcement unit team have been patrolling areas on the look out for offenders.

They have also been running campaigns and activities to raise awareness as part of a bid to prevent environmental crime.

More than 100 fines of £80 were given to people for smoking in bus stations and work vehicles with 244 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, littering, fly tipping and smoking between April 2018 and March this year.

21 fines were issued for dog fouling; 83 for dropping litter; 32 for flytipping and 108 for lighting up in non-smoking zones. The figures were presented at East Ayrshire Council’s cabinet meeting this week.

Council leader Douglas Reid said there is a problem with roadside littering and people flinging fast food containers away. He said: “I think we need to take strong action.

It is a crime and it costs us money. It needs to be dealt with.” The meeting heard efforts were ongoing to get communities involved in cleaning up areas.

Councillor John McGhee questioned why litter picking should be the responsibility of the council only. Councillor Jim McMahon said: “I don’t think we are hitting the commercial fly-tippers hard enough.”

He said 50 tyres were dumped in the middle of the countryside during one incident. Councillor Tom Cook asked why dog walkers put dog waste in plastic bags and hang it on trees and bushes.

The corporate enforcement unitteam have dealt with 618 complaints about dog mess, fly-tipping, people dropping rubbish and smoking between April 2018 to March this year.

Complaints included 191 for flytipping; 36 over littering; five about smoking; 206 in relation to dog fouling and 180 for abandoned vehicles.