It is an offence if either:
- you drop litter and walk away after you have dropped it
- your dog fouls a public place and you walk away without clearing the mess
Litter includes cigarette butts and chewing gum.
It does not matter whether you volunteer to pick up the waste afterwards – you have committed an offence and will be given a FPN.
We do not have to put signs in streets or open spaces to tell you not to litter or that litter patrols are working in the area.
Smokers must fully extinguish cigarettes before putting them in the bin. Many bins have stubbing plates you can use. You may also choose to carry a portable 'butt pouch' or 'pocket ashtray'.
By law, cigarette waste is the same as other waste – you can be given a FPN for not disposing of cigarette stubs properly. Placing a cigarette stub down a drain or in a stream is a littering offence for which you will be given a FPN.
Enforcement Officers in Thurrock are employed either directly by us or by contract with District Enforcement. They carry photo identification (ID) that shows their job title and name. The ID includes a 4-digit unique reference number you can use to confirm that the officer is genuine.
All officers wear a uniform of:
- black trousers
- blue polo shirts with the District Enforcement logo on one side and Thurrock Council's logo on the other
- blue jackets with the logos on both sides and "Enforcement Officer" on the sleeve
- body cameras
They work in areas where most offences take place and patrol wherever there is evidence of littering.
Paying a Fixed Penalty Notice
Money is never taken at the scene.
Our Enforcement Officers do not take payments. The FPNs they issue will tell you how you can pay. Our officers can also explain the options.
You can make a card payment:
- online at Notice Payments: pay a fixed penalty notice
- by automated phone line via 0203 131 3801
You can pay by cash or card at PayPoint outlets.
You cannot pay by cheque or by instalments.
If you don't pay
If you refuse to pay the FPN you will be prosecuted for the offence.
If you don't pay within 14 days of the FPN being issued and the matter goes to court, then you could incur more costs.
You have the right not to pay the FPN and appeal against your prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court. Paying a FPN on time means we cannot take prosecution action against you for the offence alleged on the FPN.
Disputing a Fixed Penalty Notice
You can query a FPN in the form of a 'representation'.
Representations must be made in writing and show the FPN was not issued correctly by law – for example, by proving it was issued to the wrong person.
Representations would not be considered on the basis that:
- you didn't know the law
- you didn't know the law was being enforced
- it was the first time you committed the offence
- you believe the officer issuing the FPN was rude or did not behave appropriately – we will consider this as a complaint but the FPN will stand if issued correctly by law
You can make a representation based on the behaviour of the Enforcement Officer, although this is usually dealt with as an internal complaint and the FPN very often stands.
You should write to the address shown on the FPN if you wish to complain about an officer's behaviour. We will investigate the complaint separately the FPN itself. You are still liable to prosecution if you don't pay the FPN on time.
The only official way you can appeal against a FPN is by going to court.
If you don't agree you committed the offence, the matter will be dealt with as a prosecution in court. It will be up to the court, on receiving evidence, to decide whether an offence was committed and whether any penalty should be imposed.