Fines for people caught fly-tipping or littering in North Devon are set to go up.

At its executive meeting yesterday (Monday) North Devon Council members agreed to increase the fixed penalty notice (FPN) fines for environmental offences, such as littering, graffiti and flyposting.

It means from September the council can issue fines for fly-tipping for the first time, whereas previously those caught had to be prosecuted through the courts.

Fines will range from £150-£400 for small-scale fly-tipping offences.

Large scale fly-tipping, repeat offenders, operators in the waste management industry and those tipping hazardous substances will still be dealt with through prosecution in court, where fines can reach £50,000 or 12 months in prison.

The new fines come into effect on September 1, with maximum fines of £150 for littering, £150 for graffiti, £200 for abandoned vehicles and £400 for fly-tipping.

Councillor Rodney Cann, executive member for environment, said: “We’re bringing our fines in line with the latest national regulations and want to send a clear message to those who don’t look after our environment – if we catch you, we will fine you!

“Reporting environmental offences is the only way we can really tackle these problems head-on and it’s easier than ever now that so many of us are online.

“We have an online form to report incidents and we’re using social media to spread awareness and try to identify those responsible for flytipping.

“Hopefully increasing the fines will also act as a greater deterrent to those who don’t care for our environment and can’t be bothered to use a bin or take their litter home.”

The council is also working towards the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog fouling, which will see the fine increase from £75 to £100.

You can report flytipping or littering online at www.northdevon.gov.uk/litter, call 01271 388870 or email customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk.