Councils are starting to hit first-time and low level fly-tippers with fixed penalty notices of up to £400.

Individual authorities have been adopting new powers to help them deal with the fly-tipping scourge. Previously they could only fine offenders for things like dropping litter and not clearing up dog mess, while all fly-tipping offences had to go through the courts.

This system has now changed following a Welsh Government consultation in 2017. Carmarthenshire Council set a maximum fixed penalty notice of £350 in April this year, and has handed out three of them — plus one for £300.

The offences included a woman leaving bags on the ground at Tir Ynys recycling facility, Felinfoel, ignoring warning signs not to do so, and a man fly-tipping garden waste and concrete products in Ponthenri, near Pontyates.

Neath Port Talbot Council set a £400 maximum fine in March, and has dished out four of them to date. Swansea Council has also set the level at £400 but it still implementing necessary arrangements after agreeing the proposal at the end of June.

Speaking then, cabinet member for environment and transport, councillor Mark Thomas, said that chasing offenders through the courts could be “long and laborious”.

He added: “This is not a replacement for serious fly-tipping. If someone tips a lorry or skip full of rubbish, that will still go through the courts.”

Offenders can pay a reduced amount if they fork out within a certain period of time, like with parking tickets. Clearing up fly-tipped rubbish costs taxpayers in Wales around £2 million per year.

Dog mess and litter are also a perennial problem in all local authority areas. Enforcement officers in Carmarthenshire have handed £100 fixed penalty notices to two dog owners who failed to clear up after their pet in Llanelli’s North Dock and Caswell Street in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, dropping cigarette butts proved a costly mistake for two men and women in Llanelli and Cross Hands, who all had to cough up £75.

A man and a woman were fined £75 each for dropping fast food litter on the ground at B&Q Trostre, while throwing a can of Coke into a hedge at Heol Cropin, Dafen, might have seemed like a good idea at the time for a litter lout — but it cost him £75.

Notices have also been served on a business and householder in Llanelli for environmental offences — the latter for putting needles in a black bag for kerbside collection.

Councillor Philip Hughes, executive board member for enforcement, said: “This is completely unacceptable behaviour. Fly-tipping and littering is not only bad for our environment, but costly to clear.

“There are plenty of facilities for proper disposal of rubbish and recycling, and a weekly kerbside collection service – there really is no excuse.”