Pairs of watching eyes have been put up around Tooting as part of Wandsworth Council’s efforts to stop littering and fly-tipping.

The eyes are now up in a few areas around the town, including around the Broadway, on council-owned items such as bins and benches.

A spokesman said: “It’s one part of a campaign, the whole aim of which is to tell people we’re not going to be putting up with fly-tipping in the borough.

“The message is that if you’re thinking of fly-tipping, there are eyes on you. We wanted to try and alert people to the fact that it’s illegal and we will find you.

“It’s certainly not the only method we are using. The campaign involves things such as the enforcement action, education, working with businesses to make sure they have the correct processes in place.”

In an interview, cabinet member for community services and open spaces Cllr Steffi Sutters said there was evidence of a similar scheme working in Amsterdam.

Newcastle University researchers wrote a paper in 2015 setting out their findings that images of eyes make people less likely to litter.

In an experiment, they printed two kinds of leaflet – one with watching eyes and one without – ostensibly warning would-be thieves against stealing bikes, and tied them to locked bicycles.

Cyclists, upon returning to their bikes and finding the leaflets, were more than three times as likely to litter (i.e. drop the leaflet on the ground rather than keep it in a bag, put it in a bin or tie it to a nearby bicycle) when finding the leaflet without the eyes.

The council spokesman said: “Some businesses, for example some shop-owners, can’t be bothered to get rid of their waste properly, so they dump their rubbish next to a street bin because it’s closer to the shop; that creates a fly tip.

“And then when someone sees one bin liner next to the bin they might put another one there.

“And taxpayers have to pay for cleaning that up. The eyes are there as a gentle reminder. It’s all about wanting to make a cleaner borough for our residents.”