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Lichfield women fined for dropping cigarette butts

Cigarette butts

Cigarette butts

Two women from Lichfield have been fined for littering after dropping cigarette butts.

Because both women failed to pay their fixed penalty notices of £75 (reduced to £60 if paid within ten days), the council had no option but to take them to court.

The two were caugt after Lichfield District Council’s environmental health officers witnessed them dropping their cigarette butts.

Twenty-one year-old Lisa Sheasby, of Dimbles Lane in Lichfield, pleaded guilty in writing to the charge of littering and was fined £100 at Tamworth Magistrates Court on October 6. She was also ordered to pay court costs of £300 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Twenty-one year-old Natalie Hutchins, of Wissage Court in Lichfield, failed to attend three scheduled court cases. In her absence, at the third hearing at Tamworth Magistrates Court on November 3, she was found guilty and fined £350. She was also ordered to pay court costs of £490 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Councillor Ian Pritchard, Cabinet Member of Housing, Health and Environmental Protection for Lichfield District Council, said:

“I hope these two successful prosecutions act as a warning to anyone who may think that it is acceptable to drop litter in our district.

“Many people don’t think of cigarette butts as litter. However, they most certainly are. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable and are also hard for our street cleansers to clear up because they are small. So, if you smoke please remember to always stub out your cigarette and put it in a bin.”

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14 Comments

  1. boley roley

    10th November, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Natalie Hutchins fined in total £855 ? and why a £15 victim surcharge ? Think im going to keep out of town in case something falls out my pocket. Why not just charge us all £15 to have the privilege of walking round our town centre and £10 for taking a shortcut through Tudor Row !

  2. Asellus aquaticus

    10th November, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I’m not quite sure what the victim surcharge is – probably reimbursement to the council on the “polluter pays” principle.
    Anyhow, cigarette butts don’t tend to fall out of people’s pockets, they are deliberately dropped. If you think littering is an acceptable activity boley roley, then by all means keep out of town.

  3. Class Crisis

    10th November, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    The fines are harsh and if they aren’t paid it gets worse – imprisonment.

    They should’ve just stumped up the £60 or better still not dropped the fag ends.

  4. Unconcerned Citizen

    10th November, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Natalie Hutchins total fine of 855 pounds is rather farcical.

    If people want to challenge these spot fines – it should go to court. If not –

    Non payers should have the bill sent to licensed debt collectors rather than wasting court time for nothing other than beureucracy – after all – this debt is probably still going to go through the bailiffs. I think this story could have had a cheaper, sooner ending.

    855 pounds is a serious amount of money to run up – many people don’t understand the legal system (or don’t care too).
    This is a good example of a waste of court time and someone who may well find themselves in serious financial difficulties….
    Lets hope she can afford her council tax when the bill comes.

  5. Tax Payer

    11th November, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I do agree people should not litter BUT we have paid all those costs and does anyone think the two ladies will pay! How many fines are paid and what does it cost to collect! Make them turn up at the cleaning dept and get them cleaning up the litter.If they are on hand outs – stop the lot till the fines are paid.

  6. Tax Payer

    12th November, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    The two people who disagree with my post – are you against litter control – do you think we (the tax payer) should pay the £855 (which we have) and not get it back by way of cash or work done?
    For people in the real world -those that work – the Gov can take the fines out of their pay packet or even direct from their bank account – why not the same for people who have hand outs?

  7. Class Crisis

    12th November, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Why do you assume that the fines won’t be paid? Why do you assume that the people fined are on “hand outs”? I assume the opposite as it’s not common for courts to impose fines on those without the means to pay – it’s utterly pointless. Community service is usually imposed in these cases.

  8. Tax Payer

    12th November, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    “Why do you assume that the fines won’t be paid?”One did not pay £60 so it is a good bet £855 will not be paid but i did put IF they are on hand outs!
    Also most fines are not paid as a general rule.I feel sure you follow the press and you will note many people are fined large sums who are asked to pay a small sum each mth because their income is low and still most do not pay – one guy will be paying when he is over a hundred!
    If you know a friendly copper perhaps he will give the facts of the % of fines paid in full.

  9. mikeyboy

    13th November, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    i think it’s great that these people were fined for littering ,i v’e never met a person who thinks littering is ok?
    it seems to me that the local authority can’t do right for doing wrong

  10. Class Crisis

    13th November, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I’m not sure why I would ask a copper about fines paid. I chose to go to the Ministry of Justice site and pulled up the figures for 2007/8 and the worst area is Hertfordshire where 76% of fines are collected.

  11. Tax Payer

    14th November, 2009 at 2:08 am

    I suggested a friendly copper as I thought he may be more accurate with today’s figs!

    On the other hand your page shows some people pay more than a 100% of what they owe – do you really believe that!!

    Look a bit deeper and see that (same site) shows outstanding fines equal circa £10M if that equates to 24% it suggests every man woman child in in that area had an average fine of circa £40!!
    BUT more important did you notice the outstanding fines total £486MILLION.
    If the figs on the page you quoted are to be used – please explain how they can show (top example) 109% of fines are paid – implying they all paid in full and some paid extra – BUT yes a BIG BUT outstanding fines equal circa £9MILLION!

    Here is a part of an article “Quote”
    Offenders in the West Midlands were the worst payers, with more than two thirds failing to meet the deadline for payment.

    In 2004/5 the force issued 7,967 notices but only 2,562 were paid.

    Last year(2006/7) 11,468 were issued and only 3,642 paid – a rate of just 32 per cent.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-447605/Instant-justice-thugs-flops-half-fines-unpaid.html#ixzz0WnMCnaXa

    End quote

  12. Class Crisis

    14th November, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    The figures from the Ministry of Justice include all fines paid in that year. 109% can show as being paid as it will include fines paid by installment that were imposed in previous years. The total outstanding fines also includes fines that are being paid by installments – It in no way means they are being ignored and certainly doesn’t show that “most do not pay” quite the opposite in fact.

    Those figures from the Daily Hate are for on the spot fines. These two women would be included in those figures. It has no bearing at all on whether the fines subsequently imposed by a court (as in this case) are then paid.

    I would be very wary of taking at face value the interpretation of a journalist as they invariably have an agenda. The particular article you have linked to is nothing more than an exercise in Labour bashing. I’m no fan of Labour but I can recognise that the article hinges it’s argument on the idea that PND’s cost money to collect if they aren’t paid as they go to magistrates court. The journos ansnwer – send them there in the first place. Brilliant, makes perfect sense.

  13. Tax Payer

    15th November, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I suggest the amount collected as a percentage looks high because the net amount imposed is arrived at by deducting those fines not collected .Note their comments – –

    Quote “New Net Amount Imposed
    Total amount imposed plus net amount transferred less amounts legally cancelled and amounts administratively cancelled, plus
    amounts written back.”end quote . Quite a bit of minus IE not paid in the amount imposed column.

    While i do concede there are more than one type of fine i did not notice in the article that they had in this instance been given extended (>28days) time to pay.
    I will send an extra payment to my favorite charity if the above fines are paid in that (28days) period.

    Quote”Magistrates chiefs’ say almost half of the monetary sentences they mete out go unpaid ?”end quote. I thought you might like to see this quote or do you not like the Sun either.I agree “almost half” is not most but if we add both papers together and divide by two i think it works out quite well (i would put a smiley in there if i knew how to do it).

    Quote – Press Release – Department for Constitutional Affairs: Fines Collection 25 May 2006
    Fines are the most common sentence imposed by magistrates’ courts but many offenders are still either unwilling or unable to pay, with the result that Her Majesty’s Courts Service has to take enforcement action against most offenders. End of quote.

    Note the words “unable” (not many employed are unable to find a few pounds per week) and “most”.

    BBC article “Parliament’s financial watchdog says the payment of court fines is “almost voluntary”End BBC article

    NOT a penny has been paid of nearly 15,000 fiscal fines issued to offenders in Scotland last year, (08) prompting widespread condemnation of the system

    Trying to get up to date and reliable infomation from UK GOV departments is very difficult (thats the PC expression) so perhaps we should agree to disagree .

    Would it help if officers looked like officers of yester year , were seen on the beat,who could tap someone on the shoulder and say – “Dont do it etc” .

    FINALY this is Jack Straw a short time ago (Sat 14 NOV 09) “I recognise that the quality of the data has made it difficult to get an accurate picture of what has been going on. We are working with all prosecutors and the courts to improve its quality. In particular, we plan to separate fines’ income from a court sentence and from PNDs. We are not going to get the rate of collection of PND penalties up if we do not even know what proportion has been collected.”

  14. TaxPayer

    21st July, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I thought you might like an update – Quote – “Courts are owed more than £1.3 billion in unpaid fines, compensation and confiscation orders, a report revealed today.

    The outstanding sum for England and Wales has jumped from £920 million in three years, a rise of nearly 50%, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.