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Smokers fined for throwing cigarette butts

Dropping a cigarette butt can lead to a fixed penalty notice or prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act 1990  Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Dropping a cigarette butt can lead to a fixed penalty notice or prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Two smokers have been fined a total of £440 after being spotted dropping cigarette butts on the streets of Ipswich.

Stuart Hunter, of Greyfriars, Woodbridge, was prosecuted for littering by the borough council at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, last week.

A council waste enforcement officer saw the driver of a Vauxhall van discard a cigarette butt from the vehicle onto the public highway in Bond Street on October 5 last year.

After the officer carried out a DVLA check to ascertain the identity of the registered keeper of the vehicle, Hunter was issued a fixed penalty notice, giving him the opportunity to discharge any liability to prosecution, and to have the matter resolved out of court.

The fixed penalty notice was £60 if paid within seven days, or £80 if paid within 14 days.

Hunter, 36, did not pay the penalty, so the matter was sent to the magistrates’ court.

He did not attend the hearing and was fined £220, ordered to pay costs of £100 and a £30 statutory fee towards victim services.

Meanwhile, Ayman Ateem, of Wellingborough Road, Northampton, was also found guilty of littering following a similar incident in Chevallier Street, Ipswich, on September 19, 2018.

He too was fined £220, ordered to pay costs of £100 and £30 towards victim services.

Both men were prosecuted under section 87(1) and (5) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 – the same statute under which prosecutions can be brought for noise nuisance and fly-tipping.

The council has powers to issue fixed penalties for dropping litter.

It is not a criminal fine and will not appear on a criminal record, but if not paid, could result in criminal proceedings.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “Dropping cigarette butts in public is not only a filthy habit, it is also an offence and we will take action when and where we can.”

A YouGov poll, carried out for Keep Britain Tidy’s #BinTheButt campaign, last year found that one in 10 (11%) smokers did not consider cigarette butts to be litter.

More than half (52%) of daily smokers thought putting a cigarette down the drain was acceptable – a third of whom thought the butts were biodegradable.

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