Councillors in Conwy have voted to extend the authority’s contract with controversial litter enforcement company Kingdom by a year.

Members  at a special meeting of Conwy’s economy and place scrutiny committee today were deadlocked on rival proposals to extend the contract by a year or six months.

Kingdom, which hands out fines for littering, has been the subject of some controversy over its dealings with members of the public.

Concern had been raised about the number of fines it hands out to people for dropping cigarette butts compared to other littering offences.

It has also been thrown out of Flintshire and had its contract ended in Gwynedd, with moves being made to do the same in Wrexham and Denbighshire.

However, it continues to work with 45 other authorities across the UK.

Officers told members  that the county’s three Kingdom staff had been “polite and courteous at all times” as they carried out their duties, as they recommended to councillors that the contract be extended for one year from August 10.

A report before councillors warned that: “Without a contract extension therefore, the consequence would be a loss of net income overall of around £200,000 with no environmental enforcement and only a very limited amount of promotional work.”

Glyn county councillor Chris Hughes supported the extension of the contract, saying that he had heard very few complaints about Kingdom.

He said: “The biggest issue that is in my inbox is the problem with dog fouling and the issue of littering.

“I understand there are a lot of concerns and there are a lot of issues.

"I think there would be as many if not more issues if we ceased to deliver a service, and I don’t understand where the money would come from to continue the service bearing in mind the austerity agenda that we have to deal with.”

Mostyn county councillor Greg Robbins said: “I don’t think there is anybody sat in this room today who doesn’t want to see enforcement.

“However, there are concerns about the current contract and we have not been given costed alternatives.

“I cannot support moving forward with Kingdom for twelve months.

"I would support a shorter period on the basis of bringing it in house is fully costed and brought back to this committee within two to three months with a view to implementation.”

Both proposals were tied at eight votes each with the casting vote from committee chairman Cllr Nigel Smith favouring the one year option.