LITTER louts who failed to pay their £80 fine have been hit by costs five times as high after East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) brought legal action against them.

Fifteen people were issued fixed-penalty notices by East Hampshire’s litter enforcement officers but chose not to pay.

The district council pursued prosecutions through the legal system and successfully secured convictions for all 15 people.

Each person was ordered to pay an increased fine of £220, a victim surcharge of £30, and costs of £155.

A total expense of £405. As well as the added cost, each person now has a criminal record.

EHDC leader Richard Millard said: “Litter is an important issue for our residents who expect us to take action against those too lazy to pick up after themselves.

“It is a blight on our landscape and a pollutant for our environment and costs the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds a year to clear up.”

And he added: “EHDC takes a zero-tolerance approach to littering and our litter enforcement officers patrol town centres and hot spots to help stop this issue at source.

“Our message is clear, if you drop litter you can expect to be fined.

“These individuals ignored that fine and now they have been ordered to pay a much heavier penalty.”

The prosecutions were brought about using a new legal mechanism called the single justice procedure, which allows cases of low-level crime, such as speeding fines or TV licence evasion, to be dealt with by a single magistrate without the need to attend court, freeing up valuable court time.