Will Spalding outlaw spitting in street?

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News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Spalding civic leaders could follow in Boston’s footsteps and outlaw spitting in the streets.

Boston Borough Council has decided to hit people seen spitting in public with £75 fines – but first it will have what it calls a period of “change and education” before cash penalties are imposed.

South Holland District Council portfolio holder Roger Gambba-Jones, who oversees street cleaning, is closely watching the Boston scheme and will be talking to council bosses there before deciding whether it would be workable here.

He chiefly wants to know if it could be properly resourced by the district’s already over-stretched council staff or police before any decisions are made.

Coun Gambba-Jones said: “I need to investigate how they are going to implement it.

“It’s all very well having this pile of rules and regulations and observations, but you have actually got to have someone there witnessing it happening.

“I agree completely it’s a brilliant idea.

“I would love to do it, I really would.”

Boston Borough Council says a precedent has been set in other parts of the country, backed by local government and communities minister Eric Pickles, making spitting illegal.

A public consultation in Boston saw 71 per cent of those responding putting spitting in the streets on a par with dog fouling, urinating and defecating.

The council will make it an offence to spit under the same rule which makes it unlawful to throw down litter in the street.

Anything thrown down in the street which is not picked up can be classed as litter – including spit.

Boston’s portfolio holder for street cleansing, Coun Michael Brookes, said: “We have had an increasing number of complaints from the public about spitting in the street. We have included this in our new environmental crime strategy.

“But we do not want to immediately wade in with fixed penalty fines. In some instances we appreciate there has to be a culture of change as action over spitting has not been taken before.

“We hope first of all to educate, but will use enforcement if the problem persists.”

Two men who refused to pay fixed penalty fines issued by Waltham Forest Council for spitting in the street were each fined £160 at court hearings – Waltham was the first in the country to bring successful prosecutions for spitting.