An influx of tourists at South Hams' favourite hotspots is very welcome after the COVID-19 pandemic created a very difficult start for the tourism season. While the return of visitors is good, South Hams District Council has made the decision to put more staff out and about to help keep the District looking its best.
Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams Executive Member for Environment said: "We have increased the number of staff out in the community checking on some of our most popular areas. They are there to advise and support visitors who might need to be reminded about our littering, dog fouling or parking rules.
"These officers are part of our Locality team, and they also have the authority to issue on the spot fines for things like dog fouling and litter dropping, if they think it is justified.
"The vast majority of our visitors do behave well and help us keep the South Hams clean and tidy, but a few do need that gentle reminder. These officers also act as our eyes and ears on the ground to spot if a problem is developing, so that we can respond quickly."
Last Saturday and Sunday while visiting Slapton, Salcombe, Hope Cove and Dartmouth, the localities team spoke to 26 members of the public. This included warning a member of public who did not have their dog on a lead, and another who was seen dumping a drinks can on an existing fly tip; both did as they were was requested to do and they avoided a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Officers also assisted a boat owner who was advised what to do with litter they had generated while onboard their boat.
Other issues they dealt with included reporting litter bins that were full, and monitoring an ongoing problem with cigarette butts in a shelter at Cliff House Gardens.
While out and about the team were thanked for their contribution to keeping the area tidy as they picked litter while they patrolled.
The Council's parking enforcement team were also out early at the weekend, issuing Fixed Penalty Notices and reminding visitors that there is no overnight camping in Council-owned car parks. Any issues with litter as a result of illegal camping were reported so that they too could be dealt with quickly.
Cllr Keith Baldry concluded: "Issuing penalty notices is not really what we want to be doing; where possible we do try to give warnings and advise those few people who break the rules. But this year more than ever it is really important that we all work together to keep our beautiful South Hams looking great for everyone to enjoy."
If you see an issue such as full bin, fly tip, litter problem, abandoned vehicle, please do report it via the Council's website : www.southhams.gov.uk/report
If you see a Locality officer on patrol picking litter, please stop and have a chat - their advice and support can help us all enjoy a beautiful summer in the South Hams.