Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: -0°C

Search

Saxmundham: Driver fumes after being hit by cigarette butt fine

PUBLISHED: 11:28 29 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:55 29 May 2014

Steve Elliott has vowed to take his fight to court over a fine he received for littering

Steve Elliott has vowed to take his fight to court over a fine he received for littering

Archant

Driver fumes at prospect of £2,500 cigarette drop fine

A Suffolk man has been threatened with a possible £2,500 fine for dropping a cigarette butt from the window of his car.

Steve Elliott was reported by a district council officer for littering in Melton, near Woodbridge, and sent an £80 fixed penalty through the post.

But the 54-year-old from Saxmundham has refused to pay the fine – which would have been reduced to £60 if settled within a week – and could now be hit by a maximum £2,500 fine if convicted at court.

Mr Elliott said he was prepared to go before magistrates because Suffolk Coastal District Council had offered him no other way of appealing against the fine.

The marketing agent for a local home improvement firm had been driving a car supplied by his insurance provider, having been involved in a collision on the A12 just days before the alleged littering offence took place.

He therefore faces a separate £30 administration charge for the fine notice being redirected from Enterprise Rent-A-Car to his address.

“Someone clearly called up with my number plate and took it upon themselves to fine me with no chance to appeal,” said Mr Elliott.

“I appreciate that rules are rules, but I don’t see how they can prove it was me.

“It feels as though I’m being treated like a common criminal. My wife is recovering from an operation and was very upset to learn about it.

“The council said the fine would be reduced if I paid within a week, but that had already elapsed by the time I got the letter. I’m determined to fight this all the way if I have to.”

According to the council, littering is an offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which gives officers power to issue fixed penalty notices, which, if not paid, could be dealt with by magistrates and result in a fine of up to £2,500.

In 2007, new laws come into force along with the smoking ban, making smokers liable for an £80 fine for dropping a cigarette end in the street.

Mr Elliott said he felt that on-the-spot fines for littering were excessive, but Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said local councils were right to impose penalties.

He added: “Litter remains a serious and expensive problem costing over £1billion every year to taxpayers in England. Cigarette litter is the country’s worst litter problem and is found on more than 82% of sites, rising to a staggering 99% in many town centres and main retail areas.

“Recent Keep Britain Tidy research shows that smokers know that cigarette butts are litter – but different ‘rules’ apply because it is on fire, small, cigarette butts on the floor are commonplace, they are smelly and are incorrectly perceived to be biodegradable.

“Keep Britain Tidy believes that it’s right that people who drop cigarette ends are fined, as it sends out a message that littering is unacceptable.

“However, fining should run alongside education and campaigning and not be seen as a solution in itself. We would urge smokers not to treat the streets like a giant ashtray and to dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly in a bin or ashtray or carry a suitable container with them so that they can take their butts home.”

What do you think? E-mail us on eadtletters@eadt.co.uk, including your postal address, or write to us at Letters to the Editor, East Anglian Daily Times, 30 Lower Brook Street, Suffolk, IP4 1AN.

A former head teacher from Saffron Walden who was found with “horrific” child abuse images has avoided jail.

A man from Bedfordshire has been arrested in connection with a ram-raid in Long Melford.

More than four thousand people have signed a petition launched by a concerned Mum, urging the county council to scrap a controversial consultation into cutting free school transport.

Suffolk police is appealing for witnesses after a 17-year-old was robbed and hit in the head with a baseball by men in balaclavas.

A teenager gunned a man down outside a petrol station over a comment that he “looked like the Milky Bar Kid”, and he is still on the run from police, a trial heard.

A world-renowned Suffolk harpist accused of taking the virginity of a schoolboy more than three decades ago told police the teenager had sexually assaulted her, a court has heard.

A man and a teenager from Stowmarket have been charged with robbery along with a series of other offences.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24