Community volunteers are leading an initiative to tackle paan spitting – a habit which costs their council around £30,000 a year to clean up.

The Brent Paan Action Network, supported by Brent Council, wants to stamp out the “disgusting” practice, which can leave dark red stains on the borough’s streets.

Paan is a tobacco leaf-based mixture, popular in parts of Asia, which is customarily chewed and spat out.

When it dries, the tobacco leaves a blood-like stain on pavements which is difficult and costly to remove.

Cllr Krupa Sheth, who is responsible for the environment at Brent Council, said: “Paan spitting is disgusting and a stain on our community.

“We need a shift in behaviour. It is heartening to see members of the community taking positive actions, supported by the council, to help put an end to this anti-social act.”

Volunteers visited Wembley at the weekend to talk with local businesses and residents about the environmental, health and hygiene implications of public paan spitting.

Several organisations in the borough support the campaign, including the Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir – a Wembley temple blighted by paan stains.

According to the council, enforcement patrol has been stepped up across Brent, with officers handing out £100 on-the-spot fines to those caught spitting out paan.

The pavements along Wembley High Road and Ealing Road were also recently jet washed to remove existing stains.