VICTIMS of graffiti could face fines of £2,500 if they fail to remove it, under new proposals from Southend Council.

Shops would also be forced to reduce littering caused by their packaging, while dog walkers could be restricted to taking no more than four on public land at one time.

Charities and voluntary organisations, which collect discarded items to raise money, may also have to register with the Environment Agency.

The new proposals are included in a draft Environmental Enforcement Policy, which has just been published by the council and aims to crackdown on persistent offenders.

Ian Robertson, Southend councillor responsible for public protection and waste, said: "Environmental crimes range from dropping litter to fly-tipping and can include businesses which are not storing or transporting their waste correctly.

"The new draft policy builds on the work we are doing to make Southend a cleaner and greener place. We would really welcome the views of residents, organisations and businesses on the policy. All comments received will help influence our future approach to environmental crimes."

The seven environmental issues singled out in the document include litter, waste, grafitti, fly-posting, abandoned and nuisance vehicles, dog control and obstructions.

To tackle the problems, the council favours talking to offenders first. But it emphasises it will use the law when needed, including the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

This allows the use of fines of up to £300 and if authorities are forced to take offenders to court, the maximum fine could be £5,000.

The consultation period on the proposals lasts until Sunday, August 24.

To read and comment on the draft policy visit, call 01702 534858 or e-mail a request to