'ANIMALISTIC' people who spit on the streets might want to think twice about their unsavoury habit.
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has backed a London council's plans to introduce an £80 fine for anyone caught spitting on the street.
People on the streets of Cheltenham and Gloucester yesterday said they were in favour of a fine here in Gloucestershire.
A fine is due to be introduced by Enfield Council in September, where bosses have described spitting as "filthy, disgusting and abhorrent".
Council bosses will even resort to using CCTV to catch people out while police officers will be eagle-eyed on the ground.
The £80 fine is something of a throwback to the days before 1990, when hurling phlegm across the street would incur a £5 fine, but that was later scrapped.
Other local authorities are expected to follow suit with the idea of a new fine.
Joggers sometimes have to spit because of the amount of air they inhale – and it is not yet clear whether they would be exempt from the new rule.
Spitting into a tissue or handkerchief would not be considered an offence.
Anyone who refuses to pay the fixed penalty notice could face prosecution and up to a £5,000 fine.
Barbara Exley, head of public protection at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "We don't fine people for spitting in the street and, currently, there are no plans to introduce any legislation along those lines."
A Gloucester City Council spokesman said: "We have no plans to seek additional powers for the council to take action but the council would be fully supportive of enforcement action being taken against this form of anti-social behaviour."
But other councils will undoubtedly also by eyeing up how much money they could make from a spitting fine.
Councils across Britain already raise around £5.5million a year handing out more than 73,500 litter fines.
In the Middle Ages, spitting was much more socially acceptable.
At all levels of society it was thought ill-mannered to suck back saliva to avoid spitting.
In Greece it is still customary to 'spit' three times after making a compliment to someone – to protect from the 'evil eye'.