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Saxmundham: Driver fumes after being hit by cigarette butt fine

11:28 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

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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.

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9 comments

  • Well spotted jacklthelad, maybe the car rental place has something to say about his antics too because nearly all car rentals usually say No Smoking !!!

    Report this comment

    newsaddict

    Friday, May 30, 2014

  • Is this guy for real? At no point does he say it wasn't him, just that he thinks they can't prove it was him. You do the crime, you do the time. Well done to whoever took the time to report him.

    Report this comment

    be36

    Friday, May 30, 2014

  • 1. If the vehicle he was driving (or the one it replaced) is a company car then the car becomes part of his workplace and the workplace smoking ban becomes effective. 2. Has he ever been riding a motorcycle when some idiot throws a fag end in his face from the car in front. 3. He should stop whingeing pay the fine and stop making the rest of us put up with his disgusting habits.

    Report this comment

    jackthelad

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • wonder if he will pay the max

    Report this comment

    barry chark

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • Not only do cigarette smokers Pollute the air that we breathe, but they also litter the streets with their unwanted cigarette rubbish. It's almost as though they have come to the conclusion that it is an acceptable thing to discard their dirty butt ends on the streets after they have smoked their filthy fags. Ask yourself these questions, is it an offence to litter our streets? Is a cigarette butt classed as litter? Was he the driver of the said vehicle at the time and date in question? If so, where is the reason for an appeal?

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    NB

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • No sympathy for this idiot. Like some irresponsible dog-owners he thinks he can just go around dropping dirty fag butts and it's someone else's responsibility to clean them up. As for his poor wife - well, he should have thought about her and just paid the £60 fine in the beginning.

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    Baron Samedi

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • I have no sympathy for littering and it’s shocking he’s had the audacity to moan about it. Hopefully his moment of fame will be a good warning to other people not to litter and maybe his fine will help him remember next time he considers littering other towns.

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    newsaddict

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • Typical smoker. They all seem to believe the streets are just one big ashtray. If they're not chucking their rubbish out of cars, they're walking along opening their fag packets, chucking the wrappers on the floor then dumping the remains of their fags as they finish smoking them. And then they whinge about how unfair it is on the odd occasion one of them gets a fine.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • Serves him right! You drop litter you get fined. Maybe I should go and drop my fag butts on his property.

    Report this comment

    Boyce

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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