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'Paan' spitting blights High Road

PUBLISHED: 16:23 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 24 August 2010

CALLS are being made for council chiefs to clampdown on paan users whose habit is blighting a multi-million pound redevelopment. The pavements and walls in Wembley Central Square Shopping Centre have become an eyesore thanks to the brown marks created by

CALLS are being made for council chiefs to clampdown on paan users whose habit is blighting a multi-million pound redevelopment.

The pavements and walls in Wembley Central Square Shopping Centre have become an eyesore thanks to the brown marks created by users of the product who are spitting out the residue it produces.

Paan is mixture of tobacco, nuts and spices which are wrapped in a leaf and chewed by members of the Asian community as a palate cleanser and a breath freshener.

The shopping centre is currently undergoing a £90 million makeover, which has seen a string of well-known shops flock to the area, including TK Maxx, Peacocks and Bon Marche, but concerns have been raised that shoppers could be turned off by the ugly scene created by paan users.

Chris Mullen, of Swinderby Road, Wembley, has been highlighting the problem for the last five years.

He said: "I think the council should hand down big fines and prosecute people for this.

"You look at all the work that has been done in the area and look at the paan marks and it's very disheartening.

"This problem comes up at every area forum but nothing seems to be done about it. It needs to be taken seriously."

Echoing Mr Mullen's concerns, Rose Brown, from Chaplin Road, Wembley, said: "It's really disgusting and off-putting.

"Some people don't like to come here because of it."

She said: "It's getting really disgusting. It's very hard to remove the stains and it's just getting ridiculous now.

"We have spoken to the council and are trying to have some sort of legal ban on it. It should be banned in public but users can do it in their own homes.

"If anyone is caught doing it they will be fined on the spot. Ideally the fine will be around £250."

A Brent Council spokeswoman said the authority is working with police, NHS Brent and the community to tackle paan spitting.

She added: "Paan spitting has now been classified as causing criminal damage which means enforcement teams can issue fixed penalty notices of £80.

The council with its partners has previously visited hot spots of paan spitting in the borough to catch people in the act. They were asked to pay the fine or clear up the mess with heavy duty bleach and disinfectant."

In the New Year an initiative to educate paan users is being launched by the council.

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