THE company responsible for a huge rise in the amount of fines handed out to litter louts in Bradford have pulled out of their contract, saying it was “not profitable enough.”

3GS will no longer be patrolling the streets of the district, with the role of litter enforcement now falling back to Bradford Council officers.

The news was publicly announced at a meeting of Bradford Council on Tuesday night, ironically during a discussion of plans to expand the 3GS litter patrols to the district’s suburbs and villages.

In 2017 Bradford Council announced it had recruited the company as part of a new push to “get tough” on litter louts. Patrols would issue fines for people who drop litter, cigarette butts and food, or spit or urinate on the streets.

The introduction of the 3GS patrols led to the number of people fined for littering to skyrocket, and the number of people prosecuted for littering rose from just two in 2016 to almost 850 last year.

Money from the fines was divided between the company and Bradford Council, which re-invested it back into street cleansing.

At the full Council meeting in City Hall on Tuesday Councillor Debbie Davies (Cons, Baildon) was originally going to call for more to be done to tackle littering in the district, including wider patrols by the 3GS teams. Currently the teams are mainly focused on patrols in the city centre and Keighley.

At the meeting Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio holder for Environment, Sport and Culture, said 3GS had pulled out of their contract, and that the Council would not be looking at another external company to take their place. She said: “Until quite recently 3GS have provided enforcement working alongside our wardens..

“It has become apparent that they found it unprofitable and terminated the contract.”

She said the service would now be carried out by Council’s own wardens, adding: “The message is simple - we will continue to enforce this, we will now do it through our wardens service.

“The fixed penalty notices will go towards our street cleansing budget.

“By bringing the service back into the Council we will be providing the best possible value for Council tax payers.”

Speaking about littering in general, she said: “It is not only anti-social and unacceptable, but it leaves the majority of law abiding people having to foot the bill. It falls upon Council Tax payers across the district to foot the bill for cleaning up after these selfish individuals.

“The simple solution to the littering problem is for people to put their litter in the bin.”

Councillor Davies’ whose motion also called for the Council to re-think planned £1 million cuts to street cleaning services in the district, as well as better use of community payback to tackle littering, praised the fact that 3GS had increased the amount of fines handed out.

She said: “I hope our own wardens will be able to build on their success. If people are fined, then they will think twice about littering again.”

Cllr Ferriby submitted an amendment to the motion, calling for the government to reverse “harmful” austerity cuts and make new funds available to tackle littering.

Her amendment was voted through by the Council.

After the meeting a spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “We can confirm that the private contractor 3GS has ceased carrying out litter enforcement duties in Bradford.

“Enforcement will continue with Council wardens operating the service.”

As part of budget cuts in the coming year, the Council is planning to merge its Parks and Green Spaces Service and the Cleansing Service. As well as saving £1 million, the move is likely to lead to the loss of around 25 front line staff.

The 3GS website describes the company by saying: “Our objective is to grow our presence throughout the UK combining our commercial and philanthropic ethos, developing new and unique initiatives that will help deliver cleaner, greener streets, parks and open space, utilising the latest and most innovative technology.”

The Telegraph & Argus contacted the company for a comment, but has yet to receive a response.

Val Summerscales from the Bradford Chamber of Trade, said the patrols had helped clean the city centre’s streets, adding: “I hope their work is not lost. We want to see a continuation of their work tackling litter and making our streets cleaner.”