DRIVERS should have their registration numbers printed on McDonald's takeaway bags according to an ambitious idea from council bosses to stamp out littering.

Cllr Russ Bowden (LAB - Birchwood), who is in charge of the council's budget, carries out weekly litter picks in his ward.

He labelled litter levels from takeaway products, including a high amount of McDonald's packaging, as 'incredible'.

Cllr Bowden insists the community must unite to tackle littering and fly-tipping, which costs the council more than £600,000 a year, but he believes McDonald's can help reduce the problem.

"I know that McDonald's says that they pick litter around its premises, but sadly the 'drive through' customers dump it much further afield," he said.

"Areas like Birchwood Forest Park seem to be common and the litter there is really detracting from a popular leisure spot - I challenge McDonald's to come with me to the park and see what we can do together to tackle the problem.

"I have already suggested that they mark its bags with the vehicle registrations for traceability.

"McDonald's claims that this is personal data and yet they have CCTV recording and cameras at its drive-through areas. There is certainly a way for McDonald's to do this and it could be a useful weapon in tackling the problem."

In 2014/15 the council issued 43 fixed penalty notices for littering, while so far in the 2015/16 period 10 have been dished out.

The notices for littering are charged at £50 but rise to £75 if not paid within 10 days.

McDonald's are hopeful of minimising the problem but believe necessary measures are already in place.

"Our restaurant teams work hard to reduce the litter in the areas surrounding our restaurants with at least 3-4 litter picks a day around every restaurant," said a spokesman.

"We have partnered with Keep Britain Tidy on its Love Where You Live campaign which aims to encourage people to stop dropping litter.

"Thousands of our employees take part in Love Where You Live clean-up events across the country each year, including the staff from the restaurants in and around the Warrington area.

"Most recently the team from the Gemini Retail Park restaurant spent the day cleaning up Westbrook Old Hall as part of this ongoing commitment to the local environment."

The town's Liberal Democrat leader, Bob Barr, said the town's patience has 'run out' and believes those offending will be made to pay for their actions.

He added: "A small minority of residents, or those passing through the town, have no such conscience and appear to lack the basic civility to respect everyone else's wish to live in a cleaner greener town.

"A small minority of users of the many fast food outlets in the town eat their meal then drop the wrapping, wherever they are, as soon as they have finished or had enough.

"There are many technical means, albeit expensive and possibly intrusive, to catch offenders.

"Drive through fast food outlets could be asked to put car numbers on packaging to identify the consumers. Litter cameras could be placed at motorway junctions, while chipped dogs would mean DNA could be recorded so that dirt can be traced.

"It would be much better if the few could simply behave better and none of these would be necessary."