MORE than £70,000 has been collected in fines so far through a Blaenau Gwent scheme aimed at clamping down on people who drop litter or don’t clean up after their pets.

The scheme, which was launched in October last year, sees private company Xfor work on behalf of the local authority issuing fines to people who drop litter, fail to clean up after their dog or violate dog control orders.

Between October 3, 2011, and July 31 this year, more than 2,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued with £73,295 being collected in fines.

There is also £11,300 in court costs outstanding from this period and the scheme has also seen 113 successful prosecutions for non-payment.

For this period, the total cost the council was invoiced for by Xfor was £117,729 which includes the figures for the fixed penalty notices as well as administration support.

The scheme has caused some controversy among some residents with the Argus reporting on a number of people who have been angered with their fines.

This included the family of Craig Harper, 20, of Tredegar, after Mr Harper ended up with a £75 fine for not cleaning up dog mess, despite the animal not belonging to him.

Mr Harper, 20, tried to appeal against the conviction but the judge ruled that he was in charge of the dog, which belonged to his parents, at the time of the offence.

But council members have praised the scheme and a council spokeswoman said the borough has improved its street cleanliness and seen a reduction in complaints about litter and dog problems following the project.

The scheme, which has also created six full-time jobs, was initially launched in response to Keep Wales Tidy’s findings that Blaenau Gwent had some of the dirtiest streets in Wales receiving 900 complaints of dog fouling in 2010/11.

The council’s executive committee will now consider whether to extend the pilot scheme until the end of March next year with a view to formalising the service for a further three years.

Residents can report an issue with dog fouling by calling the council’s contact centre C2BG on 01495 311556 and asking for Environmental Health.