SMOKERS who throw away their cigarette ends have been labelled litter louts.
Thousands of the used butts were picked up during the first community clear up day in Bognor Regis.
The items were the most common of those found by the volunteers who took part around the town centre.
The initiative by Toyubur Rahman saw 15 helpers comb Sudley Road, the High Street and Little High Street on its first day last Friday.
“Some areas were disgraceful. It’s only when you start really looking around you notice it,” he said.
“Cigarette butts, chewing gum and dog mess seemed to be the most prevalent items. Cigarette butts are possibly the worst.
“Because they are so small, people think they can just throw them away. But a 20-a-day smoker who does that all the time is throwing away a lot of them.
“If that person has been smoking for ten years, that is a large number.
“The ends don’t decompose or disintegrate. They just stay there.”
Volunteer Sam Osborne said pavements outside pubs were the dirtiest sites for them.
“I must have picked up at least 1,000 cigarette ends today. There should be zero tolerance towards them.
“If you had someone to enforce it and to stop people driving through the High Street, you would not need money to regenerate the town.
“People would love to come here and the businesses would thrive.”
Town centre resident Sam, 48, has lived in Bognor for five years and spent four hours on the spring clean.
“I enjoyed it. I chatted to a lot of people and some of them said well done. I’m one of these people that wants to do things if I moan about them rather than just sit and moan about something.
“Bognor gets a lot of bad publicity, which is a shame. When the sun shines, it’s a lovely place,” she said.
Mr Rahman said the spring clean had filled about 20 black rubbish bags just on the first day. The most unusual item found was a new blue-and-white handbag with 20 silver spoons and gold, possibly costume, jewellery found in a bin.
He said: “The town should look good for Easter which kickstarts the main season.
“We need a clean town so visitors feel welcome here.”