MID Devon District Council has vowed to continue its zero tolerance approach to environmental crimes across the district in 2013.

Last year, almost 50 fixed penalty notices were issued by the council's environmental enforcement officers for offences such a dog fouling, littering and smoking in smoke-free areas.

Three of these notices were not paid and resulted in court appearances, with fines and costs of nearly £900 awarded.

One such summons was that of a 33-year-old Tiverton man, who pleaded guilty to a charge of fly-tipping at Exeter Magistrates' Court on December 11 after a large quantity of road surfacing was found dumped next to the River Exe in Tiverton.

He pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined £400, with £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Paul Williams, head of environmental services at MDDC, said: “Anti-social behaviour and lack of respect for the environment is not acceptable.

“The council will continue to take this tough stance in regard to these offences and the courts clearly support our approach to tackling environmental crimes.”

With the introduction of the new Dog Control Orders in December, officers will also be stepping up patrols in the district's parks to ensure all dogs are kept on leads in accordance with the bylaws which are in place.

Failing to do so could result in a prosecution with a fine of up to £1000.