The authorities have been accused of “overkill” after a mobile CCTV van was deployed in the centre of St Andrews.
Traders fear the presence of the unit could put visitors off returning to the famous town.
However, officals quizzed over the decision to send out the van revealed it was only relocated to the town centre after haar blowing in from the North Sea forced an anti-dog fouling patrol unit to abandon its position at the West Sands.
Following an increased number of complaints at the beach, Fife Community Safety Partnership’s mobile CCTV unit had been sent to patrol the area.
However, when poor visibility forced the unit to abandon the beach and concentrate on littering in the town centre instead, business owners hit out.
The issue was raised by Lindsay Adam, the proprietor of Bonkers on Market Street,who claimed the presence of a high profile CCTV van on the cobbles of Market Street could put people off visiting the area.
The van parked near the fountain pointed its cameras west down Market Street towards an area where there have been complaints about overflowing refuse bins from shops and residences.
Raising her concerns with members of St Andrews Community Council where she is a co-opted member representing the St Andrews Merchants Associationshe said: “People are complaining about the sinister appearance of the van and the difficulty of getting in and out of parking spaces. “Apparently it is parked there to catch anyone dropping littersurely an overkill considering we have fixed CCTV cameras in the same location?”
Fife Council said the presence of the CCTV van last Friday had not been planned, but had been effective- resulting in several fixed penalties issued to litter droppers.
Mark McCall, Safer Communities Service Manager, said: “The mobile CCTV unit is an option which is used in the detection and prevention of anti-social behaviour. The van can be moved to areas where there have been increased reports of anti-social behaviour of any kind. As well as actually catching those people in the act the camera also works as a deterrent.
“Following an increased number of complaints regarding dog fouling at St Andrews West Sands and littering within St Andrews town centre, our Mobile CCTV Unit was sent to patrol the area on Friday. “However, weather conditions were such that visibility was too poor to continue monitoring of the beach area so the monitoring of the town centre was undertaken for most of the day.
“The vehicle was situated in a designated parking space in Market Street where other traffic was not obstructed and during this period of time a number of Fixed Penalty Notices were issued for littering.”