Council ‘reviewing options’ after spitting prosecutions but fines are fine for readers

People who spit in Redbridge streets could find themselves in court after two people were prosecuted in neighbouring Waltham Forest.

In a landmark case, two men were fined £300 each at Thames Magistrates’ Court on September 20 under the same powers used to enforce litter laws.

But as of yesterday (Wednesday), the majority of voters in a Recorder poll did not want spitting to be treated as a criminal offence.

Fifty-one per cent thought a large fine would be the perfect punishment, while only 24pc wanted to see prosecutions.

Around 15pc of voters thought small fines were enough and 10pc said spitting should not be punished at all.

Cllr Ashok Kumar told Redbridge Council’s area committee seven meeting he would like to follow Waltham Forest’s example.

He said: “I think we should be proactive – we keep waiting for other boroughs to do things and now they have.”

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Cllr Kumar believes spitting is a health hazard, as well as dirty and unsightly.

Commenting on Facebook, Jackie Allsop supported fines for the “disgusting behaviour”. She said: “I have been known to point out to those I’ve seen do it that it is bad manners and considered filthy.”

Fatima Hussam agreed, adding: “I am in favour that more should be done to stop this from happening and keep our streets cleaner.”

The council had previously looked into changing bylaws so people caught spitting on CCTV could be fined.

But in Waltham Forest, spitting was classified as littering, meaning existing laws could be used.

A council spokesman said that although it had been considering how a change in bylaws could help stopping spitting, not decision has been made.

He added: “Spitting is a disgusting habit and the council has been considering how we can clamp down on those who spit in public places. We will continue to review our options as to how we can dissuade this habit in our borough.”

Do you think spitting deserves a fine or even prosecution? Vote in our poll.