RUBBISH was left strewn around Christchurch Quay less than two weeks after the bins were removed - with the council threatening to fine people caught littering.

'Environmental enforcement patrols' will be stepped up after the Quay was left in a mess last weekend.

Litter was left overflowing from dog waste bins, while others were stuffed full of fast food and takeaway packaging.

Christchurch council started the controversial trial on March 1, removing all the litter bins and replacing them with signs, asking people to take their rubbish home with them.

The move has been criticised by residents, with questions raised over who signed off the contentious trial.

The decision did not go through a committee, but was taken through the council's scheme of delegation, Cllr Margaret Phipps, portfolio holder for the environment told the last full council meeting.

It costs the council £175,000 a year to deal with litter in Christchurch, money the authority claim could be used for other things.

Further concerns were raised at a meeting of Christchurch Citizens' Association.

Newly elected chairman and former council chief executive, Colin Dewsnap, said in order to introduce such a measure, a 'campaign of co-operation' was needed from people.

"You do not just remove litter bins", he said during a meeting of the association on Monday.

Responding to the litter left over the weekend, Cllr Ray Nottage, leader of Christchurch council, said: “We’re conducting this experiment to see if we can get people to change their behaviour and take their litter home.

"If they have some litter while at the Quay surely it’s not too much of a hardship to take it away to dispose of it? "Unfortunately, it would seem that it might be a hard task to persuade some people to do that and instead they are using the remaining dog bins for general litter and waste or leaving it on the ground."

He said "to help the general public" the council would put more notices on dog bins and increase the environmental enforcement patrols to identify who is leaving the litter or using the wrong bins.

People will then be issued with Fixed Penalty Notices when appropriate.

"We know that generally people of Christchurch are helpful and responsible", he added.

"However, we understand there was an event at the Quay at the weekend.

"We would normally have an agreement with event organisers that, as a prerequisite of granting them a licence to hold an event, they must ensure that regular litter-picking is carried out.

"This event was not required to have a licence as it did not take place on land at the Quay itself, but we will ensure that any such future events also require litter-picking in the vicinity.”