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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Litter loud speaker goes mobile
Preston's litter education officer Sonia Scowcroft
Sonia Scowcroft 'warns' litter louts - via a loud hailer
A loud hailer used to embarrass those caught dropping litter on the streets of Preston has extended its reach.

Enforcement officers, previously confined to one area of the city, are now mobile in a specially-designed van.

Undercover colleagues keep an eye out for litter-droppers, before litter officer Sonia Scowcroft speaks to them via the loud hailer in a special van.

The We Are Watching You campaign van, used randomly to surprise offenders, went on its first outing on Monday.

Previously Ms Scowcroft, a litter education officer who devised the campaign, would use the speaker system at the flag market - but it limited the number of people who could be approached.

'Taken by surprise'

Ms Scowcroft told the BBC News website: "People are definitely taken by surprise.

"One man was seen dropping a cigarette end and when I spoke to him from the van, he had absolutely no idea where the voice was coming from.

"He went to pick up the butt and was stood looking at the sky with it in his hand."

Ms Scowcroft's campaigns have already specifically targeted cigarette-related litter and chewing gum.

Those caught dropping litter on the streets can be issued with an on-the-spot 50 fine.

It costs Preston City Council 1.4m every year to clean up Preston's streets.

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