A CAMPAIGN to clean up the borough will be launched in Weymouth and Portland in January.

People who drop litter including cigarette ends in the borough will face a fine of £75.

A dedicated team of officers will begin patrols and will have the power to fine anyone caught dropping litter, allowing their dogs to foul or spraying graffiti.

Francis Drake, community safety brief holder at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “It is not acceptable to drop cigarette ends, chewing gum or other litter, it costs the council thousands of pounds each year to clear it up.

“We know residents want firm action taken against litter louts and irresponsible dog owners , which is why we are launching these patrols.”

Christine James, social inclusion brief holder at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, added: “We are launching the campaign in January, so anyone who drops litter can make a New Year’s resolution to stop and if they don’t they’ll face a hefty fine. You have been warned.

“The patrol officers will be providing advice where giving fixed penalty notices is not appropriate.”

Before the patrols begin in January the borough council is taking steps to warn people, especially smokers, to stop dropping litter. Businesses have been asked to display signs this month to let people know that littering will be punished by fines.

The scheme is a pilot project and may be introduced permanently after seeing how it works. The patrol officers are employed by a specialist environmental enforcement company, who have powers to issue offenders with fixed penalty notices.

If approached by a patrol officer, offenders will be asked to provide their name, address and proof of identity. Failure to comply could result in a criminal prosecution, which carries a fine of up to £1,000, together with a criminal conviction. The officers will wear body cameras.

The patrol officers will also be targeting business owners who fail to make sure that rubbish is stored and disposed of correctly.