BRADFORD Council has started a crackdown over cigarette tab ends littering the district.

Wardens and police community support officers have powers to hand out on the spot fines for litter.

Offenders caught dropping litter, including cigarette butts, face a £75 fixed penalty notice, or a maximum fine of £2,500 in court under the existing laws.

Cigarette butts are the most commonly found items of litter and the crackdown marks the start of a campaign to convince people across the district that cigarette butts are litter and so should be put in the bin.

Wardens will place signs on lamp posts and display posters in target areas so everyone is aware of the enforcement policy.

Many people seen throwing cigarette butts on the floor are customers of shops, offices and other premises so business owners are also being asked to help the campaign.

Firms are being urged to display Bin Your Butts campaign posters and to consider putting bins at the entrance of their premises, so cigarette butts can be disposed of responsibly.

They will also be urged to tell their customers not to drop cigarette butts.

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council's executive member for environment, sport and sustainability, said the city centre as one of the worst-hit areas for litter and cigarette butts being dumped on the streets.

He said: "It has been a growing problem in the Bradford district, it has been for quite a while.

"The ash disappears but the butts don't. They get caught in drains and are such an eyesore.

"It does not take a lot to put it out and put it in the bin.

"Bradford city centre is the worst area in the district for this.

"There is no difference between a cigarette butt and other litter. It's all litter.

"It is about being good citizens and taking more responsibility.

"It has been a problem for a while now. It has been going on for years. People don't really think.

"There are bins all around Bradford city centre for people to put their cigarette butts in.

"We want to make sure we have a nice clean, safe and vibrant city centre and we are heading that way.

"We need to ensure people take pride in their city.

"There will be some enforcement notices handed out and we shouldn't shy away from that.

"We all benefit from having a clean environment and if people don't dispose of their litter properly then they will have to face the financial consequences."

One city centre business owner immediately backed the Council's scheme.

Qaisar Sheikh, pharmacy manager at Rimmingtons Pharmacy, Bridge Street, said: "I think cigarette bins would be a great idea.

"More bins will help to re-educate people. City Park is better because they have more bins but Ivegate is a lot worse for litter."