A SUMMIT was held after unsightly graffiti was sprayed and drug paraphernalia found on the canal towpath in Stroud.

MP Siobhan Baillie urged Stroud District Council to tackle anti-social behaviour and littering more effectively during the meeting at the Sub Rooms which looked at how to do more to stop graffiti and tackle poor behaviour and littering across the town but especially around along canal.

Ms Baillie has campaigned to improve the situation following concerns being raised about graffiti and litter from the community including school children.

The Cotswold Canals Trust is also concerned and asked the MP to hold the first summit last August.

She said: "The volunteers are upset that fixed penalty notices are not being issued for littering or graffiti in Stroud even when evidence is offered and everything is taking so long.

"This needs to change if we are to be serious about tackling this sort of anti-social behaviour."

A CCT spokesperson said: "Volunteers are concerned at what appears to be an increasing trend in negative behaviour along the canal corridor.

"We are finding increasing litter which can block canal overflow gratings and increase flood risk, walls, bridges and commissioned children's artwork defaced or covered in graffiti, some very offensive, discarded drug paraphernalia which is a health hazard and general vandalism.

"We are very willing to assist the authorities in campaigns to clear areas and try to reduce this anti-social behaviour, but our committed volunteers cannot be expected to do this alone."

An SDC spokesperson said: "Littering is a criminal offence, punishable in court with fines of up to £2,500, or by fixed penalty notice.

"We provide more than 1,000 litter and dog waste bins around this district, in addition to many more provided by parish and town councils, private landlords and developers.

"Neighbourhood wardens, community environmental officers and our waste and recycling partner Ubico undertake daily litter picking, street sweeping, collect hypodermic needles and remove about 900 fly tips a year from public land.

"A waste education officer was appointed in December who will support campaigns to reduce litter throughout the year.

"We issue fixed penalty notices and prosecute where there is enough evidence to do so."

Those at the meeting included Stroud district and town councils, CCT, the police, the PCC, Stroud Chamber of Commerce and community litter pickers.