Thursday, 6 March 2014

Motorist fined £600 for throwing cigarette butt out of car window

Smoking in family cars to be banned

A motorist has been ordered to pay over £1,000 in court costs and fines after being caught by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) flicking a cigarette butt out of her car window.

Alexandra O'Shea, 35, from Bedminster Down, Bristol was spotted littering by the PCSOs as she drove through the Bristol suburb of Hartcliffe last summer.

She was immediately handed a £75 on-the-spot fine, which she refused to pay.

Bristol County Council decided to follow up the case and summoned O'Shea to court to settle the matter.

Carol Donovan, a street scene officer for Bristol City Council, said: "We wrote to her telling her that if she did not pay that we would take her to court.

"She ignored this, and failed to turn up when the case was heard, despite reminders, and then Magistrates obviously took her behaviour very seriously."

Bristol Magistrates' Court found O'Shea guilty of littering and she was ordered to pay a fine of £600, costs of £361.08, and a £60 victim surcharge.

Jonquil Maudlin, council neighbourhood enforcement manager, backed the decision, saying: "People should be aware that cigarette ends are just as much litter as anything else, and they take a long time to biodegrade, as they are made not of paper, but of plastic filament.

"They are full of toxic chemicals and it has been found that many have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and other animals who mistake them for food."

"This case also shows the importance of people taking these cases seriously and not just ignoring them," she added.

Andy Walker, from the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, added: "People tend to think that littering is a victimless crime but the reality is it affects us all.

"According to research, littering costs the country around £1 billion every single year, and it is a major cost for councils such as Bristol City Council.

"Every time someone drops litter in the street, we are all having to pay to clean it up. If this person had paid the fine and not ignored the court letters then she would not have got herself in such a mess,"

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