A cash-strapped council has splashed out nearly £3,000 on two fancy dress costumes – to promote cutting WASTE.
Ashford Borough Council spent a whopping £2,944 on the daft costumes as part of their campaigns to stop littering and increase road safety awareness.
The pair of characters in armour and carrying a broom were created by Ashford Borough council employee in their own time and named by council workers.
But the authority also paid £1,244 to Frenzy Creative agency in Manchester to make Sir Litternot and £1,700 to Jellyhead Studios in London to make Moreline the Wizhog.
Sir Litternot, a knight in green armour, was part of a council strategy to curb litterbugs from blighting the town and was designed by the Kent council worker Mike Cook.
However, earlier this summer Ashford Borough Council leader Gerry Clarkson admitted that stronger enforcement was needed in the battle, because they have not issued a single fine for litterbugs for over three years, prompting a new policy for £75 on-the-spot fines for those caught dropping trash.
Contractors Kingdom will be patrolling the town centre and other busy areas with powers to impose fines, and expect to catch between 40 to 80 wrongdoers each week, starting in September.
Moreline is another character based around the legend of King Arthur and is designed to promote Kent County Council road safety initiatives, even launching a children’s book.
In particular to encourage children and adults to leave the car at home for a regular journey such as a school run.
But the council’s decision to spend so much money on the costumes was savaged by a consumer organisation.
Harry Davis, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance: “Councils up and down the country are raising council tax pleading poverty and yet somehow Ashford Borough Council have found the money for two silly costumes.
“Not only is this deeply insulting to hard-pressed taxpayers who have stumped up the cash, it is also somewhat patronising for adults to be communicated with in this way.
“Local residents expect their taxes to pay for roadworks and adult social care, not to be wasted on silly gimmicks.”
A council spokesman said the mascots have been well received by children, and are an effective way to get their message across.
A council spokesman said: “Our new road safety mascot, Moreline the Wizhog, was created to help the council engage with young people about the importance of staying safe near the road.
“Moreline has already been well received and invited to some schools to promote road safety at their assemblies.
“Sir Litternot was devised to help the council engage with residents of all ages and to highlight littering problems in our borough.
“Since his first appearance in June 2014, Sir Litternot has visited many schools, public events and exhibitions to spread the word about littering with his slogan: ‘Use litterbins and everyone wins’.
“We are continuing to use this educational approach to encourage residents to help keep Ashford looking its best ahead of the litter enforcement pilot beginning in September.
“Moreline and Sir Litternot were designed by a creative member of Ashford Borough Council staff. To design campaigns in-house offers far more value to the taxpayer than something that is externally commissioned.
“Moreline and Sir Litternot are not short lived promotions; they are a long term commitment to education.”