A MAJOR clampdown on litter and dog fouling will see a zero tolerance hit squad deployed by Dudley Council.

Kingdom Enforcement Services - made up of ex-police and military personnel armed with body cameras - will take on responsibility for patrolling the borough's streets, parks and open spaces for a trial 12-month period.

The firm will initially have five officers on the beat, plus one team leader overseeing operations – but that is expected to increase as the pilot goes on.

It is expected to see a significant increase in the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for those who drop litter or fail to pick up after their pets.

The move will not cost the council a penny, with Kingdom receiving payment directly as a percentage of the financial penalties issued.

However the local authority will still retain a percentage of the income from the fixed penalty notices.

The company has a proven track record of success and already works with more than 30 local authorities across the country, including Wolverhampton City Council and Birmingham City Council.

Kingdom issued more than 9,000 FPNs in Wolverhampton last year after being taken on by the local authority in the middle of 2015.

Comparative figures before they took over show just 25 were handed out from April 2014 to March 2015.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley's cabinet member for environmental services, said: “We have a zero tolerance attitude towards litter and dog fouling.

“I am sure the majority of law-abiding residents would agree that those who make our borough untidy should be fined.

"We hope this will be a deterrent which hits the pocket and makes them think twice about dropping litter or not cleaning up after their dogs in the future."

Mark Mountford, business manager for Kingdom, added: “We’re really looking forward to working with Dudley Council and the team can’t wait to get out there and get cracking.

“Our results speak for themselves and the message is simple – if you drop litter or don’t pick up after your dogs, there is a good chance you’ll be caught and hit in the pocket.”