MORE than 80 people have been slapped with £100 fines in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

A study of the use of public space protection orders across the UK found 87 fines were issued by Colchester Council in 2018.

These include 63 for people urinating in a public place, nine for drinking alcohol in a public place, four for A boards and one for begging.

The council also handed down five fines for people having dogs off leads and five for people who didn’t pick up their dogs’ mess.

Colchester Council has five public space protection orders which cover the town centre, car parks, Mill Road and East Bay.

It means police or council officers can issue fixed penalty notices of £100 to, or may prosecute, anyone who does something which may cause harm.

Campaign group the Manifesto Club has called for the orders to be scrapped.

But Colchester Council safety boss Mike Lilley said it allowed the council and police to take action where needed.

He said: “The idea of the public space protection order in the town centre is that it is an extra arrow in our bow to use if we have to.

“The first path has always been to help and refer these people onwards.

“In the two years the PSPO has been in place we have managed to help 13 people off the streets of Colchester.

“We are also able to refer people to drug rehabilitation and alcohol rehabilitation.”

Mr Lilley said the order was never used to target vulnerable people but had been successful in a move to stop aggressive begging.

Thomas Roy, 51, of Montgomery Close, Colchester, was banned from the town centre after he faked being homeless to beg for money.

“There is no point in fining someone who doesn’t have any money,” he said.

“A lot of people are not happy about PSPOs but they help us and they help the police in enforcing areas we need to enforce. “

Mr Lilley said the council regularly received complaints about dog mess and people urinating in public.

He said: “It is not on in this day and age and in a civilised society. People are responsible for the way they behave and if they don’t like it they shouldn’t behave that way.”