Litter louts are costing the council nearly £4m a year.

Wandsworth Council is launching a new anti-litter campaign after figures show the authority spends £3.8m on street cleaning each year.

To cut this cost the council is introducing new energy efficient street cleaning vehicles, stepping up enforcement on litterers and businesses fly tipping, and launching a public awareness campaign.

Councillor Jonathan Cook said: “What we are trying to do is make sure that Wandsworth‘s streets remain amongst the cleanest in London.

“We will of course go on picking up all the litter that’s deposited on our streets because we take great pride in the borough’s appearance, but we also want to get across the huge cost of this task and encourage those people who do drop litter to stop and instead use the many bins that can be found all over the borough.

“Every year around 7,000 tonnes of waste is chucked on the ground or dumped on street corners. This is costing local taxpayers millions of pounds a year to deal with.

“Families that are already struggling to pay rising food and fuel bills do not need this unnecessary burden.

"If the litter isn’t dropped in the first place then we won’t have to spend huge sums clearing it up and these savings can be passed directly on to local people through lower council tax bills.”

Crackdowns have seen nine people handed on the spot £80 fines outside Tooting Broadway station, while six businesses were brought before a magistrate and fined to failing to comply with litter laws.

All six pleaded guilty to breaching the Environmental Protection Act and were ordered to pay fines and court costs totalling £3,661.

In order to keep town centre streets clean, the council has introduced specific time bands when shops and companies can leave their waste out for collection by their contractors. This is designed to stop pavements being cluttered with bin bags or refuse containers.