Spitting on the streets could soon be a crime

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COUNCILLORS have supported plans to outlaw spitting on the streets of Mexborough and Conisbrough.

Mayor Peter Davies wants the problem to be punished as a criminal offence - and now a panel of councillors have supported the plan.

Doncaster Council’s democratic services committee unanimously voted in support of the action in a bid to stamp out the “nasty habit” in the borough altogether.

The council must submit a proposal for a byelaw to the Secretary of State including evidence of where the problem is and how it plans to tackle it. The exact punishments people could face have not been decided yet but breaking other byelaws in the borough can lead to culprits receiving a £400 fine.

Roger Harvey, assistant director of legal and democratic services, told Tuesday’s meeting that a number of agencies had been contacted to find out how big the problem was. He said there were 31 cases of spitting following a day of observation.

The committee has called for a public consultation with residents to find out where the hotspot areas are and wants to launch a dedicated webpage and use social media to explain about the byelaw if it is put into place.

Mr Harvey said 1,200 responses were needed to make the consultation valid and the byelaw could not be put into action until after May’s election.

Councillors Patricia Schofield and Bill Mordue supported the idea, but raised concerns that the advertising campaign would cost more than £7,000 and questioned if the authority’s enforcement team had enough resources.

It was agreed that the council should reduce the cost of advertising the byelaw while ensuring residents still received detailed information.