TRADERS across Taunton warned to tackle their rubbish or be penalised have embraced the challenge, says the man who sparked off the campaign.

Alan Garbutt, a Taunton resident of 38 years, joined fellow members of the TauntonForward taskforce to voluntarily hand deliver 500 letters from Taunton Deane Council last week, advising town centre businesses the local authority is cracking down on waste crime.

Mr Garbutt said: “The majority of businesses understood the reason for the letter.

“The majority, who do have good working practices, welcomed the reminder to the ones who don't.

“The cleanliness of the town is for everyone's benefit, to help Taunton become even more desirable and also to encourage inward investment, which in the long-term, will help all businesses in Taunton.”

He added: “If you break the law, you have to expect to be prosecuted in the same way if you break any law in this country.”

Andrew Lee, store manager at County Stores on Taunton’s North Street, said: “We have our own compactor so trade waste isn’t an issue for us.”

He added: “From a personal point of view, I would say the letters have had an impact, as I haven’t noticed the rubbish this week.”

Simon Laws, supervisor at Coffee #1, also on North Street, commented: “We are now reviewing the way we manage our waste, by doing everything we can to solve the issue.

“We are looking at our bins and also assessing whether we can sort a different collection arrangement.”

Deputy leader of Taunton Deane Council, Mark Edwards, said: “As I understand it, it’s already had an impact, as a majority of retailers, coffee shop owners and restaurateurs have dealt with it accordingly.

“It’s made it much easier now to see where the problem areas lie, and we are determined to follow it up.

“My grandfather owned his own shop, and the first thing he did every single morning was sweep up outside.

“Whether they’re a national chain or a small shop, businesses should carefully assess their operations and make sure staff deal with waste accordingly.”