Bexley Council has confirmed that litter police will be a "permanent fixture" despite a controversial pilot scheme with Kingdom Environment Protection.

'Litter police' in Bexley have been blasted in the past for operating on a bonus-like scheme and using scare tactics to dish out more fines.

Kingdom enforcement officers had their contract extended until 2018 earlier this year, and following that the council will invite companies to bid for a permanent contract.

Panorama exposed the tactics being used by officers operating in Bexley in May, but the council said this was not an "accurate picture."

Councillor Peter Craske, cabinet member for environmental safety, said he was pleased litter enforcement will be permanent.

He said: “So many residents and business have contacted myself, the council or councillors supporting our enforcement scheme. We are all sick of people who just ruin our borough by dropping litter or flytipping.

"There is no excuse for it and we have a clear zero tolerance policy. It has helped bring about a 38 per cent drop in complaints about cleanliness so it is proving effective. I am pleased to confirm this enforcement will now be a permanent fixture."

Kingdom has also come under fire after it was reported that 94 per cent of fines were made up from cigarette related litter.

There have been more than 150 successful prosecutions for littering in Bexley since the council’s environmental enforcement service started last October - with combined fines and costs for the culprits totalling over £56,000.

Cllr Craske said: "At the end of the pilot we extended our contract with Kingdom until June 2018 to give us the time needed to take on board lessons learnt and to develop a robust tender specification.

"When this is complete we will be inviting companies who are interested in providing the permanent service to bid for the contract.”