The controversial litter police in Bexley have been defended for spending "94 per cent of their time" issuing fines for people dropping cigarette butts in the borough.

Councillor Sean Newman asked Bexley Council's councillor for environmental safety Peter Craske at a council meeting last week: “What will the cabinet member do to ensure that litter wardens target all types of litter offences instead of 94 per cent of their time on cigarette butts?”

Kingdom enforcement officers were the subject of a Panorama Investigation earlier this year when it was revealed that officers were paid ‘bonuses’ for distributing higher numbers of tickets.

Cllr Craske said: “We have a zero tolerance policy on litter and fly-tipping. You can’t really have a zero tolerance policy if you exempt lots of things. Then you have an ‘everything goes’ policy.”

Statistics released earlier this year show that cigarettes make up 94.4 per cent of littering offences in Bexley, compared to dog fouling which makes up just 0.31per cent, or seven fines.

Bexleyheath had the highest amount of offenders, with more than half of all fines issued.

Cllr Craske defended the council’s policy and said that there have been more than 3,000 tickets issued since Kingdom started patrolling the streets in October last year.

Speaking to News Shopper, he said: “We have a zero tolerance policy on littering. This includes flytipping and all other types of littering.

“People are sick of it, and it wastes tax-payers' money. It is the most common form of littering, and we have a zero policy on it because it is anti-social.

“It is a pilot scheme that started in October last year and will be reviewed after the summer.”

In the last year, Cllr Craske said 1,639 instances of flytipping had been recorded and 83 penalty notices have been issued since October.

In figures given to Bexley Council, from the period October to March 22 people were fined for dropping food, 69 fined for spitting and 2,153.

1,159 were fined in Bexleyheath in the same period compared to just three in Slade Green.

Cllr Craske said: “We have introduced the scheme as well as other ways to stop littering.

“Cigarette butts are just indicative of the issues, more and more people are having a fag and dropping it and we want to crack down on littering.”