FAMILIES visiting part of the Hampshire coastline are being warned to use the litter bins or face an £80 fine.

Anti-litter patrols are being stepped up on beaches between Barton and Calshot and action will be taken against anyone caught flouting the rules.

Visitor numbers are expected to be higher than usual again this summer because of Covid-related restrictions on foreign travel.

New Forest District Council is making free rubbish bags available at beaches identified as being litter hotspots.

If the bins are full families will be expected to visit one of the bag dispensers and take their rubbish home with them.

It follows the success of a campaign that reduced the amount of littering by ten tonnes last August, saving taxpayers £10,000 in clean-up costs.

Cllr David Russell, the council's cabinet for people and places, said: “Uncontained rubbish is costly to clean up and can be a danger to people and wildlife.

“Our message is clear. When you visit our beaches please use a bin, and if the bins are full take a free bag and take your rubbish home.”

Areas being targeted by the council include Calshot, Hordle Cliff, Barton on Sea, Milford on Sea and Naish.

The authority is determined to tackle a raft of issues including "polite littering", a type of fly-tipping that involves rubbish being left near overflowing bins.

Uncontained waste is often blown on to the beach and can end up in the sea, harming coastal creatures.

A council spokesman said: "Alongside the provision of litter bags, the council is increasing its patrols, emptying bins more frequently in busy areas and providing bigger bins where possible to manage the expected increase in litter from additional visitors staying in the UK again this summer.

"Littering is a criminal offence which can result in an £80 fine. Officers will be looking out for those littering and taking action against those caught."