Nearly three years after spending £207,000 enforcing the smoking ban, Wandsworth Council has no prosecutions, fines or penalties to show for it.

The council hailed its operation - which included £174,000 on salaries - as “highly effective”, while a pressure group labelled it a waste.

The figures, which came from a Freedom of Information request, show the council spent £174,784 on salaries and equipment, £32,445 on producing publicity, including leaflets, advertisements in local publications and awareness activities.

Legislation banning smoking in all enclosed public spaces and workplaces was introduced in July 2007 and under the law, employers were required to display no-smoking signs, take steps to make staff and customers aware of the ban and remove smoking rooms.

A spokeswoman for The TaxPayers’ Alliance said: "Wandsworth Council has spent far too much money enforcing this ban when people are, on the whole, complying with it.

"Rather than adopting such a heavy-handed approach and throwing cash at a problem that doesn’t exist, the authority would be wise to dramatically cut this spend and divert the money to where it’s really needed."

A spokesman for Wandsworth Council said the money came from a central Government grant.

He said: "It was used to employ and train staff who would be policing the ban, conducting surveys of how many local businesses would be affected, visiting these businesses to make sure they were fully aware of their new responsibilities, providing stop smoking courses to local employers and their staff and also producing a range of publicity materials so that the new legislation was fully understood.

"We have had hardly any complaints about breaches of the ban and therefore feel that our efforts to get the message across, both to businesses and their customers, have proved highly effective."