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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Council's chewing gum clampdown
Balloons stuck to chewing gum in Maidstone
Balloons were stuck to places where gum had been dropped
A Kent town has begun its part in a national pilot scheme to stop people dropping chewing gum in the street.

Maidstone Borough Council now has dedicated officers who can hand out 50 fines to anyone caught doing it.

The scheme also involves extra cleaning patrols, special pouches for people to throw their gum away, and educational initiatives like leaflets and videos.

Maidstone council was one of three local authorities chosen for the Chewing Gum Action Group scheme.

'Really serious'

The fine enforcers are known as street environment officers and one of them, Trevor Ford, said they would adopt a zero-tolerance approach.

"When we witness someone dropping chewing gum we'll contact CCTV to help monitor the situation and we'll also, if necessary, issue the fixed penalty fine," said Mr Ford.

Councillor Malcolm Robertson, Maidstone council's cabinet member for the environment, described chewing gum as one of the town's biggest litter problems.

"The 50 fine, possibly going up to 75 in the near future, is going to make people wake up and think, 'look, this really is serious, I shouldn't be doing this'," said Mr Robertson.

Maidstone Youth Forum is also getting involved by producing a video of young people's views on chewing gum litter.

Chewing gum offenders face fines
05 Jun 05 |  Manchester

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