Up to 40 people a day are being fined by new enforcement officers for dropping litter on town centre streets.

In August Croydon Council brought in four Environment Enforcement Officers to catch those who drop litter, cigarettes or do not clean up after their dogs.

Those who are caught are issued with a £75 on-the-spot fine.

Figures released by the council this week showed in the first month of the programme, 645 people were caught and fined, meaning an estimated £48,375 has been raked in through fines.

The officers from security firm Kingdom will bill Croydon Council £45 for every offender caught, with the rest going to the council.

The scheme is being piloted for six months and if successful, the council will roll the officers out into other parts of the town.

Before the council launched the scheme it was hoping to catch 5,000 litterers per year. If fines continue at the same rate, more than 7,500 will have been fined in the first 12 months of the programme.

Civil liberties campaign group Manifesto Club, have raised concerns about the enforcement officers only targeting "easy targets" as opposed to serious litterers to get the highest number of fines.

Josie Appleton, founder of the group, said the figures coming out of Croydon were some of the highest she had heard of nationwide.

She said: "You would think to get to that level the officers are picking on easy targets."

Council bosses hope the fines will act as a deterrent for those who dabble in littering.

This week Tony Brooks, Director of Public Safety & Public Realm at Croydon Council, said there has been up to 40 fines a day on a fairly consistent basis since the officers started.

Mr Brooks, a former borough commander at Camden police, said: "A good proportion of people have been accepting that they have done wrong and have complied with the fines. Some others have complied grudgingly.

"We want the officers to use common sense, this isn’t about how many they can do. Although the numbers they are showing highlights a recklessness around people on how they dispose with their litter.

"This isn’t a case of hiding in bushes or round a corner. They are very open. They have cameras on them as well so they can record the interaction with the person they are fining.

"They are looking for the persistent and deliberate offenders."

Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for Community Safety and Public Protection, said the programme was going very well and a clear message was being sent out to those who litter.

He said: "People recognise what they are doing is wrong.

“It is one of those things where if people don’t litter then they don’t get fined. If they do then this is the impact.

“Overall the issue is trying to make the streets of Croydon cleaner and a nicer environment to be in. We want to make Croydon a better place."