Dropping butts costs three smokers £1k each

Posted On 12 Jan 2017 at 11:08 am

Three people prosecuted for dropping cigarette butts in Brighton and Hove have been ordered to pay almost £1,000 each after failing to turn up to court.
butt by Jessica Lucia on Flickr
Last Wednesday, Brighton Magistrates found the three guilty of dropping litter in the street after failing to pay a £75 fixed penalty that was issued at the time. Littering is contrary to Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act and a criminal offence.

Stacey Ransom from Peacehaven, Muhammad Noorani from Croydon and Michael Conn from Devon were each ordered to pay a fine of £440, plus £450 costs and a £44 victim surcharge.

Smokers have been a particular target of Brighton and Hove City Council’s new privately employed litter cops, who handed out 602 fines in the first six months of the contract last year – 80% of the total fines issued from February to August.

Contractor 3GS keeps two thirds of the fines, and the council says it will spent its share on mobile CCTV in a bid to boost the amount of fines issued for fly-tipping, which accounted for just eight offences in the first six months.

At court on Wednesday, a further case for flytipping on Hollingbury golf course was unable to proceed because the defendant did not appear in court and has to be present. A warrant is currently out for his arrest.

These were the first cases taken to court following the start of a new enforcement contract last year which aims to support the council’s work to improve the environment and reduce waste clean-up costs by tackling littering.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the city’s environment committee, said: “The council is taking all kinds of littering extremely seriously. Taking someone to court is a last resort but anyone ignoring a fixed penalty notice (FPN) leaves themselves at risk of prosecution which could result in a hefty bill and a criminal record.”

The defendants also had the opportunity to plead guilty by post which would have resulted in a less severe penalty. All the offences occurred in the summer of 2016.

Residents regularly complain about cigarette litter outside heavily populated work places and the council has also worked closely with contractor 3GS to target other incidents of concern to residents.

In the two months up to October 2016, 27 FPNs were issued for flytipping, compared to eight in the first eight weeks of operation and 65 for commercial waste offences, (more than for cigarette-related FPNs in the same period). As the contract progresses the council will be bringing in other initiatives, including combatting dog fouling.

The council is using its share of the fixed penalty notice income to pay for a pilot using CCTV cameras to deter flytipping.

  1. Ben McQuade Reply

    My oh My, I have been involved in a discourse with 3gs and the council over their enforcement policy re cigarette butts and how such a large proportion of offenders fined are lone females, (anecdotally), including my wife. It was noted in council meetings about the over emphasis on cigarette butts. This is a licence to print money and smokers are cash cows. We paid our FPN but the fact remains that the citizens of this city deserve better respect towards environmental education than the draconian yet financially lucrative pantomime attempting to pass as progressive politics.

  2. Nicole savage Reply

    This gets me always the smokers pick on the drinkers and litter people .anything to make money . Just annoying council that is greedy and pathetic ????

  3. Gheese Reply

    If you don’t drop litter you won’t be fined

  4. joe Reply

    Not sure greedy when it cots millions just to puck up the wrongly disposed litter and they wont get the fine

  5. Barney Reply

    How can a private company be given the power to impose a legally-enforceable on-the-spot fine?

    I strongly suspect that this is NOT lawful, especially as there are no facilities provided for the disposal of fag ends.

    What are smokers expected to do? Put it in a litter bin and risk a fire?

  6. Kim Bailly Reply

    BHCC are really worried about litter? Has anyone seen the state of Brighton and Hove recently – the pavements are strewn with embedded gum, with homeless people and with litter, and all kinds of fly-tipping. The shop fronts are shabby and decaying – and that’s even the one’s that aren’t closed down! Get a grip! I’ve just been fined today after spending 4 hours in hospital taking my elderly father, who can’t walk unaided, to a hospital appointment – I wasn’t even in the hospital grounds but over the other side of the road waiting for a bus! The enforcement officer was there at the bus stop when we arrived – she’d been there at least 20 minutes, talking on her mobile – I didn’t know who she was but noticed her because of her uniform – and then she pounced! That’s entrapment! And the cigarette butts lying at my feet on the pavement all around me – obviously she’d missed her chances there!!

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