Ipswich: Taxi driver fined for smoking in his vehicle

A TAXI driver has become the first person in Ipswich to be prosecuted for smoking in a public place.

Lifelong smoker David Trenter, of Milton Street, Ipswich, was caught puffing away in his vehicle at the taxi rank in Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich magistrates heard.

The 62-year-old was fined �50 and ordered to pay �60 prosecution costs, along with a �15 victim surcharge after admitting smoking in a smoke-free place.

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard Trenter had begun smoking when he was 12 years old and had a 50-a-day habit until he developed incurable lung disease.

Trenter, who still lights up 25 times a day, has been a licensed Hackney Carriage driver since 1995 and began driving a private hire vehicle in 1989.

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Mandy Ford, prosecuting on behalf of Ipswich Borough Council, said one of the authority’s smoking enforcement officers was on patrol in Lloyds Avenue just after 8.30pm on May 11, when he saw smoke coming from the driver’s window of Trenter’s Volvo.

In mitigation Trenter’s legal advocate told the court he believed his client was being made a scapegoat, and could have been warned as to his behaviour instead of prosecuted.

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Trenter was seated in the court’s waiting area awaiting his case, although he left after seeking permission before the hearing was called on due to his illness.

Following his court case Trenter will now have to go before the town’s Hackney Carriage committee and may face further sanction.

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