Illegal punt touts have been fined 78 times since a ban was put in place in 2016 – with the money going to pay for an extra enforcement officer.
Cambridge City Council gave the thumbs up to taking a tougher stance on unlawful punt operators and touts in October last year.
The council brought in an extra enforcement officer to specifically deal with the problem.
They are policing a public spaces protection order (PSPO), introduced in 2016 in response to complaints about punt tour touts were approved.
The order only prohibits verbal touting, not the actual presence of touts, but since the PSPO was introduced some touts have moved from the city centre to areas that are not covered by the ban – such as outside John Lewis.
Why the ban?
The PSPO makes it a criminal offence for punt tour touts to operate in certain areas of Cambridge, with anyone in breach of the order likely to face a £75 fixed penalty notice.
A Cambridge City Council spokesman said: “Since the introduction of the Public Spaces Protection Order in 2016 to prevent verbal touting for punt tours in unauthorised areas, enforcement officers have issued 78 Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching the PSPO.
"A further seven cases have resulted in successful prosecution for repeat offences having taken place within six months of a previous fixed penalty notice.
"The PSPO was introduced to address antisocial behaviour linked to punt touting such as aggressive behaviour and causing nuisance to the public.
"The order only prohibits verbal touting, not the actual presence of touts, but we have noted that since the PSPO was introduced some touts have dispersed away from the city centre to areas that are not covered by the PSPO.
"The council has six enforcement officers and recently deployed a new dedicated punt tout enforcement officer, with the position paid for using income from fixed penalty notices.
"It is necessary to have proof that touting has taken place, and a fixed penalty notice can only be issued when there is clear evidence that the order has been breached.
"Our new officer will help with this process, and the police can also issue fixed penalty notices. Enforcement officers work at weekends and other peak times, but they have a range of demanding responsibilities not limited to punt touting.
“We would remind unauthorised punt touts that it is a criminal offence to breach the order and a person found in breach of the order is liable to a fine. Repeat offending or non-payment of fines can result in a criminal record for the offender and can have long term and serious consequences for people.”
On the move
A council report says some touts are ignoring the PSPO and have also moved to the rail station, and companies are using 16- to 17-year-old touts within the restricted areas.
The PSPO covers most of the city centre except specified touting locations beside the river at Quayside, Silver Street, Trinity College frontage at Garret Hostel Lane, Queens Green and the walkway from Quayside to Jesus Green (La Mimosa), provided that certain conditions set out in the order are met.
The councils enforcement officers, police officers and police community support officers are all able to take action against anyone breaching the order.