Taxi drivers only offenders breaching smoking ban in Ipswich since introduction
- Credit: Getty Images/Wavebreak Media
Fewer than 25 fines have been handed out to people for flouting the smoking ban in Ipswich since it was enforced eight years ago.
However, figures released under Freedom of Information laws show all of the 24 fixed penalty notices were given to licensed taxi drivers for smoking in their work vehicles.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) said it was made “absolutely clear” to every person who applied for a taxi licence that smoking was not allowed in cars.
He said people were also reminded of the ban in regular newsletters that were sent to all licensed taxi drivers.
In November last year, Ipswich taxi driver Andrew Slinn was prosecuted at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court and ordered to pay £520 after he was three times caught smoking in his vehicle.
The 62-year-old was warned about the offence in 2011 and then convicted of breaking the law for a second time in 2013.
The borough spokesman said Mr Slinn was the only taxi driver licensed under IBC who had twice been prosecuted and found guilty, and he was subsequently suspended by the council for six weeks.
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He said when a driver received their first fixed penalty notice they would usually be given a warning but every case was treated separately.
“They are warned and we hope they will not re-offend, it’s an issue we do take very seriously,” he added.
From 2007 to 2010, no-one in Ipswich was caught breaching the ban.
In 2011, seven drivers were fined, in 2012, nine, in 2013 four and last year four were also fined.