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“I was fined £150 for dropping a cigarette butt whilst fly tipping was ignored.”

Giles Kelch, 51, was fined £150 after throwing his cigarette butt on the ground but claimed his fine was “unethical”.

A cigarette butt with a filter and ash on a street in Paris, France. No visible registered trademark. Bright and natural colors.
The 51-year-old IT worker was fined £150

An IT worker has been fined £150 for throwing his cigarette butt on the floor rather than in the bin but claims smokers are being “attacked”.

Giles Kelch claimed his imposed sentence was “unethical” after he was caught littering.

The 51-year-old threw the butt of his cigarette on the ground in Faversham, Kent, where he was spotted by an enforcement officer on behalf of Swale Borough Council.

Kelch claimed there weren’t enough bins in the area and was furious at the fine he faced.

He said: “How can you possibly charge £150 for dropping a cigarette butt which was subsequently collected and thrown in a bin?

‘It hardly ruined all of Swale. They do so in 2022, with costs and energy prices increasing.







Kelch claimed the fine was ‘unethical’
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Picture:

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“I’ve told them where we live there are fly dumps everywhere and it’s been complained about all the time but they still aren’t putting the resources there.

“Their opinion was if you’re walking around and there aren’t any bins, wait until you get home and put it in the bin.

“In the city center there are only garbage cans, but when you come out there is nothing.”

Kelch also complained that there weren’t enough signs warning people that they would be fined for littering, even though littering has been punishable by a fine since the 1950s.

“I said there is no evidence that you will be fined if you do it and I think that is extremely unethical,” he added.

He said: “I don’t see how you can charge people who don’t know that if you don’t put up signs it will be enforced? If you walk into a parking lot and don’t pay, you know you’re going to be charged.”

Nearly 90 per cent of the litter fines handed out by Swale Council in 2021 were for discarded leftovers. Of the 1,221 fines issued, 1,092 were for cigarettes, generating £97,000 in revenue.

An undisclosed percentage goes to Kingdom LA Support, the company that Swale has hired to conduct the enforcement.

In the same year, only five fixed decisions were issued because of dog waste and in the two years before that none.

Mr Kelch, who is caring for his bedridden father, has been given an extra month to pay the fine.

He claimed he would “often” pick up other people’s trash and dog poop.

He said: “We live in Selling and when you put out your rubbish they don’t even collect it. It is ridiculous.

“One cigarette butt isn’t going to ruin the whole of Swale and I find it absolutely disgusting. I think they’re trying to make money for the council.”

A spokesman for the agency said it spends more than £1million every year cleaning up the borough’s streets – with smokers accounting for three-quarters of all litter.

He said: “Cigarette butts not only look unsightly, they contain single-use plastics and toxic chemicals that can linger in the environment for many years.

“Littering of any kind carries a fixed penalty of £150, including cigarette butts.

“Any income we receive from litter FPNs is reinvested into programs to keep the district litter-free.

“It pays for enforcement, as well as environmental projects like buying trash collectors for beach cleaning, installing extra trash cans, and our community environmental grants.

“We are also offering a £100 refund to people who have received a smoking-related FPN if they successfully quit smoking through the NHS One You Smokefree scheme.

“Last year we issued more than 1,400 FPNs to people caught littering and more than 150 of them were later prosecuted in court for failing to pay the FPN.

“Local residents tell us that it is important to them to have clean streets and we will continue to issue FPNs to anyone caught littering.”

Kingdom LA Support also carries out litter enforcement for some other authorities in Kent and has previously been accused of targeting smokers.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/i-fined-150-dropping-cigarette-26949012 "I was fined £150 for dropping a cigarette butt whilst fly tipping was ignored."

Fry Electronics Team

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