NEW signs have been placed along key roads in the district as part of a campaign to crackdown on littering.

Braintree Council is working with County Hall on the initiative and says it will rely on litter-picks to monitor if the new signs are having an impact.

The signs will be in place for the next 12 months, with three placed along the A131 between Great Notley and Sudbury, one on the B1018 between Braintree and Witham, and another on the A1017 between Halstead and Haverhill.

Each one will display the message ‘Littering is ILLEGAL keep it in your vehicle’.

Braintree Council's environment boss Wendy Schmitt said: "It's probably true the majority of people already know that littering is a criminal offence.

"It’s looked upon as anti-social behaviour by the many who care about our environment and contributes towards the climate change crisis.

"It ruins our beautiful countryside, endangers wildlife and costs the local taxpayer around £1.2m to keep our district clean and tidy.

"We hope these signs will stop the litterbugs in their tracks and encourage them to do the right thing by taking their waste home where it can be disposed of properly, instead of throwing it out the window.”

Anyone caught littering is liable to an on-the-spot fine of £100.

They could also be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court, where conviction for this offence carries a fine of up to £2,500.

Essex County Council's Highways boss Kevin Bentley said: "Every year our grass cutting and other crews waste hours removing litter and all sorts of other rubbish dumped by the roadside before they can commence work.

"Littering is a thoughtless and selfish act, which the offenders themselves and the wider Essex population end up paying for through their taxes.

"I would urge anyone considering committing this illegal act to re-think their behaviour, to save themselves a potential fine and to help ensure vital highways resources can be used where they are most needed.

"If you are thinking of tossing litter out of your vehicle… think again, as anyone who sees you littering can report you by giving the council your vehicle registration number.

"Its enforcement team will then investigate the offence and may take action against you."