A scheme to tidy up Weymouth town centre will continue for another 12 months and could expand to other areas in the borough.

Councillors agreed to continue an environmental enforcement scheme at a Weymouth and Portland management committee meeting.

It comes as the council’s contract with firm 3GS is coming to an end.

Last year the council approved a pilot scheme, to give 3GS powers to issue fines over a 12-month trial period for minor offences, including littering and dog fouling.

A report put before councillors, revealed that more than 820 fines were issued during the scheme’s first 11 months – around 18 every week. Most (625) were for dropping cigarette butts for which there is a £75 fine (£50 if paid within a week).

The report states the project has been helping to clean up the streets, and that there will be a surplus of cash leftover.

But there were 100 complaints or appeals against fines during the period.

Complaints appear to have risen during the latter part of the period, and 3GS says this is mainly due to "repeat complaints from a few customers".

Councillor Kate Wheller said enforcement officers shouldn't just focus on 'easy targets' like smokers, but on dog fouling, which attracted less fines.

She said: "Although it is horrible to see cigarette ends they do wash away fairly quickly whereas dog poo doesn't.

"We shouldn't be going for easy targets we should be going for difficult ones, which can be more annoying."

Discussing the figures, Councillor Jeff Cant said: "This was not popular at first but it is now working."

Councillors were recommended to consider setting aside an amount within the budget for education around litter prevention and environmental protection.

Cllr Gill Taylor said: “Education will make a difference.

“I would like this written quite firmly into a contract with 3GS and if there is any funding available. Put please can that go into the contract.”

Cllr Richard Kosior said: “We are trying our up most best to keep the streets clean.

“There is nothing we can do but educate people.”

Consideration will also be given to increasing the remit of offences moving forward. Councillors were keen to see an increase in the areas covered by the service and to increase the number of officers.

Cllr Cant showed his support for expanding the scheme and called it a ‘very sensible suggestion.’

He added: "The council is seriously considering expanding the project."

The scheme is set to continue for another 12 months to give the council the opportunity to monitor its progress.

Councillor Ray Nowak, who is the briefholder for environment and sustainability, will now work with officers to develop a ‘custom charter’ to help govern how the service will operate moving forward, taking on board the points raised by councillors.