CARDIFF and Vale University Health Board is the first in Wales to allow enforcement officers on to hospital sites to tackle littering problems.

Enforcement staff will be able to fine individuals £75 for dropping litter, as the health board looks for ways to tackle the problem, especially cigarette butts on its sites.

Enforcement officers will also be handing out health board information on stopping smoking as part of a move to stop people smoking on hospital grounds - something that is currently only allowed in designated areas.

Chris Darling, assistant locality manager for the Vale, said an agreement had been signed to allow the enforcement officers used by the Vale Council to patrol Barry Hospital and other health sites in the area.

Officers have been informing staff and the public that action will begin on Monday (January 21).

He said: "Litter, and in particular cigarette butts, is a real problem for the hospital. They make the area look dirty and untidy but there's also a cost in employing people to collect and dispose of this waste and to remove chewing gum.

"Most people who visit our hospitals dispose of their rubbish properly. The few that do not now run the risk of picking up a fine."

The enforcement officers will use existing legislation to issue and enforce the £75 fine. Failure to pay the fine is an offence and can lead to a fine of up to £2,500.