'The most expensive fag you'll ever have': Smokers fined £200 for dropping cigarette butts in Newcastle town centre
SIX smokers have each been fined £200 after dropping their cigarette butts in a town centre.
And another man was given the same penalty for throwing a match on the floor.
The seven defendants were also ordered to pay £130 costs and a £15 surcharge, meaning their littering cost them a total of £345.
The penalty was today welcomed by Newcastle Borough Council which brought the prosecution.
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Councillor Ann Beech, Cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: "One of our priorities is to create a clean, safe and sustainable borough and residents have told us they want clean streets so we want to send out the message that litterbugs will not be tolerated.
"This isn't about making money. We want to encourage people who drop litter to change their bad habits, have more pride and take responsibility for their environment by using a bin.
"Litter spoils the quality of our streets and open spaces, can be hazardous and also costs the borough council a considerable amount of taxpayers' money to clean up."
Stafford magistrates yesterday heard the council's litter patrol enforcement officer, Steven Williams, issued all seven defendants with £75 fixed penalty notices after seeing them drop litter in Newcastle town centre on various dates in July and August last year.
But none of them paid the money and they were yesterday prosecuted by the local authority. Magistrates found all seven cases proved in the defendants' absence.
Notices were issued to:
Rashid Ali, aged 33, of Watford Street, Shelton, after he was seen to drop a match in Hassell Street on August 15;
Ryan Brown, aged 26, of Bute Street, Fenton, who dropped a cigarette end in Lower High Street, Newcastle, on August 3, just 10 yards from a bin. He paid £5 off the fixed penalty but made no further payment;
Shane Burns, aged 32, of Audley Road, Chesterton, who threw a cigarette in Stubbs Street on August 14. When cautioned he said it was a 'joke' and became agitated;
Dilon Clarke, aged 29, of Rowan Place, Crackley, who dropped a cigarette end in Paradise Street on July 25;
Matthew Condliffe, aged 31, of St Bernard's Road, Knutton, who threw down a cigarette end in Paradise Street, just seven yards from a bin, on August 20. He told the officer he did not know it was a criminal offence and added he was in a rush as he had to sign on at the job centre;
Sarah Harris, aged 28, of Bucknall New Road, Bucknall, who dropped a cigarette in Ironmarket on August 17. When asked if she had anything to say she returned, picked up the cigarette and gave it to the officer who put it in the bin;
Mark Johnson, aged 30, of Wilton Street, Newcastle, who dropped a cigarette in Paradise Street on August 21, just seven yards from a bin. When approached he tried to walk away without giving his details but was cautioned and issued with the fixed penalty.