It has been a sticking point for many years, but Merton Council has announced it will finally come clean and rid its streets of chewing gum.

A crack cleaning team, armed with a £100,000 truck, has been drafted in to scrub more than 40,000 square metres of pavement across the borough over the next two months.

The operation will cost the tax payer £36,000, but the local authority hopes to recoup some of this cost by enforcing £75 fines for anyone caught littering or dropping gum on the street.

Merton Council's cabinet member for the environment, Councillor David Simpson, said: "When chewing gum is carelessly thrown away it gets trodden into the pavements and makes the area look grimy and dirty.

“We will not tolerate people dropping litter of any form and will not hesitate to take action on anyone spotted committing this environmental crime.

“Littering demonstrates a blatant disregard for the local community and the borough, which we are committed to maintaining as a beautiful place where our residents feel proud to live.

“This means making sure all of our town centres are kept clean and tidy.”

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