PLANS to crackdown on litterbugs in Southampton have been given the green light.

People who will be caught dropping litter and cigarette butts on city streets will be fined up to £75.

It comes as city councillors have given the go ahead to the proposals which could be implemented as early as April this year.

Officers will be patrolling “agreed hot spot areas” within the city five days a week, one of which will always be a Saturday.

The initiative will be rolled out for 12 months and it will then be re-assessed.

As previously reported, offenders could have the fine reduced to £55 if paid within the first ten days. But according to the plans first revealed in a public document last week, people under 18 and “those who lack capacity to understand the offence due to mental illness, learning difficulties or other condition” will not be fined.

The final decision on the scheme was made by cabinet members at Southampton City Council this week.

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for place and transport and deputy council leader at the city council, said residents are fed up with seeing litter on the streets.

She added: "This is literally about educating people, improving the environment. This isn't about us taking people's money and fining them. This is about an incentive that if you don't drop your litter you won't receive a fine. We are going to take a sensitive and a sensible approach. If we see less fines being given that would be a sign of success because that means people are beginning to understand the importance of disposing of their litter properly."

As reported, East Hampshire District Council will provide the trained officers. The city council shall pay the district council a flat rate of £55 “per correctly issued fixed penalty notice”.

The fees will cover the provision of trained officers and the processing of all fixed penalty notices, including final reminders and preparation of court packs.

"We investigated and looked at best practice across the country. We are not outsourcing it to a private company", Cllr Rayment said.

She added: "It's a shared service with another local authority and that's really important because that means we govern how we deliver and how we work with them to make sure we clean up Southampton."

The city council said the decision will change public behaviour and demonstrate that the authority has zero tolerance regarding litter.

According to official documents, if the city council had to provide the service it would require “an increase to the existing establishment along with training, equipment and other costs that would require additional funding over and above the proposed option”.