A ZERO tolerance hit squad aims to get tough on litter and dog fouling in the borough in a new 12-month trial.

Dudley Council is set to deploy Kingdom Enforcement Services to patrol streets, parks and open spaces across Dudley from early next year.

The firm has pledged to significantly increase the number of Fixed Penalty Notices dished out for those who drop litter or fail to pick up after their pets.

Made up of ex-police and military personnel armed with body cameras - the company already works with more than 30 local authorities across the country, including Wolverhampton City Council and Birmingham City Council.

But the deal in Dudley will not cost the council a penny.

Kingdom will receive payment directly as a percentage of the financial penalties issued – while the local authority will still retain a percentage of the income from the fixed penalty notices.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “We have a zero tolerance attitude towards litter and dog fouling.

“I am sure the majority of law-abiding residents would agree that those who make our borough untidy should be fined. We hope this will be a deterrent which hits the pocket and makes them think twice about dropping litter or not cleaning up after their dogs in the future.

“This change will put more enforcement people on the streets, which councillors and residents are lobbying for daily.

“Kingdom are a leader in the field and are already working successfully with lots of other councils in the Black Country and beyond.

“They will be highly visible - and with the increased number of fixed penalty notices being handed out this can only lead to cleaner streets, which is what we all want.”

Kingdom issued more than 9,000 FPNs in Wolverhampton last year after being taken on by the local authority in the middle of 2015.

Comparative figures before they took over show just 25 were handed out from April 2014 to March 2015.

Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance, said: “The major advantage of this trial is that we can deliver it at absolutely no cost to the council.

“That makes it an absolute no-brainer really, and if Kingdom deliver the eye-catching results they are promising, it will also generate income for the authority as well.”

The Kingdom team will be controlled by a designated council officer, who will direct the staff and prioritise hotspots.