How one smoker’s ‘filthy habit’ cost £450 for dropping butt on Ipswich street
PUBLISHED: 16:30 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 20:39 31 October 2018
A Suffolk man has been hit with a £450 bill for dropping a cigarette on an Ipswich street.
Paul Mulley was one of two people fined by magistrates on Tuesday for dropping cigarettes in Ipswich.
Mulley, of St Andrews Place, Melton, was spotted dropping a cigarette end from the window of a Nissan in Yarmouth Road at 9.05am on May 31.
A waste enforcement officer had a “clear and unobstructed view” of the incident, an offence under the Environmental Protection Act.
Borough council prosecutor Richard Essex told magistrates that Mulley was sent a fixed penalty notice by post on July 3, requesting £80 within 14 days, reduced to £60 if settled in 10 days.
A reminder was sent on July 16, said Mr Essex, followed by a final reminder on August 7, advising Mulley would be prosecuted if the penalty went unpaid. He was not present at court when magistrates dealt with the matter – fining him £220 and ordering him to pay £200 towards the cost of prosecution and a £30 statutory surcharge towards victim services.
Kim Lewis was also fined in her absence for dropping a cigarette from the window of a Vauxhall on the same road on July 10.
Mr Essex said Lewis was sent a case summary and witness statement to her Dunlin Road address on October 12. He said Lewis was seen dropping the cigarette butt by an enforcement officer at about 12.25pm.
When a fixed penalty notice was sent on July 11, Lewis admitted the offence but asked to pay in instalments, as she was reliant on jobseeker’s allowance.
The council told her it must be settled in one payment and sent two unanswered reminders before an officer attended her home, where she expressed her desire to take the matter to magistrates, who would allow part payments.
Mr Essex said: “I have some sympathy with a defendant who can’t afford to pay the full penalty all at once.”
Lewis was fined £60 and told to pay £75 towards costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
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.
A council spokesman said: “We will not tolerate people dropping cigarette butts on our streets.
“It’s a filthy habit and someone has to clean them up. It is not easy to catch culprits in the act but it is an offence, and we will take action when and where we can.”