ALMOST 500 people have been fined for littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping and keeping untidy yards and gardens.

Durham County Council says it has issued 481 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) between April and August.

Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, Ian Hoult, said: “We have seen a 52 per cent increase in enforcement for environmental crime – giving a clear message that we do listen and we take enviro-crimes very seriously.”

Among those fined, 170 were people whose property had an untidy yard or garden.

A further 18 people were given an FPN for neglecting to pick up after their dog.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “First and foremost we always educate people about the consequences of environmental crimes.

"However, issuing FPNs is the appropriate option when people break the law.”