County Durham smokers given portable ashtrays

Image caption Stubbi pouches have been handed out to smokers

Smokers in County Durham are being given a helping hand to keep the area clean and free of cigarette butts.

County Council bosses have bought anti-litter pouches, designed for cigarette butts, called 'Stubbi'.

The reusable devices fit into a coat pocket or bag and have a fireproof lining to safely extinguish cigarettes.

Neighbourhood wardens have been carrying out high-profile patrols in Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Crook and Spennymoor.

A council spokesman said: "Throwing away a cigarette end is the same offence as dropping any other type of litter and attracts a fixed penalty notice of £80.

"Millions of cigarette butts are discarded throughout the county every year.

"They are a pollutant to the environment and are costly to remove."

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