Man fined £150 for dropping cigarette butt says smokers are being unfairly targeted
Giles Kelch, from Faversham, was left hanging after being charged a ridiculous amount for dropping a cigarette butt.
Whether you smoke like a chimney or can’t stand the smell, £150 for dropping a cigarette butt seems a little steep.
Yet that’s what an IT worker was accused of when he was spotted dropping a stub on the ground in the Borough of Swale.
Kelch was fined by an enforcement officer on behalf of Swale Borough Council on March 29.
And the local resident was not happy at all, calling the fine ‘unethical’ and saying there weren’t even enough bins in his area – a fact we can sympathize with.
“How can you charge £150 for dropping a cigarette butt, which was then picked up and put in the bin?
“It barely ruined Swale’s set. They do so in 2022 as energy costs and prices rise.
“I told them where we live, the fly dumps are everywhere, and we complain about it all the time, but they still don’t put the resources into it.”
The council’s response didn’t help either, Kelch adding: ‘Their advice was that if you’re walking around and there’s no bins, you wait until you get home and put it in. the bin.
“There are only trash cans in the city center, but once you get out there is nothing.”
The trash cans were just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Kelch says there are hardly any signs discouraging people from littering.
“I said there’s no sign that if you do that you’ll be fined, and I think that’s unethical in the extreme.
“I don’t see how you can accuse people who don’t know that this will be applied, if you don’t put up any signs? If you go to a parking lot and you don’t pay, you know you will be charged.”
And, to be fair to the man, he might be right, as in 2021 90% of fines issued by Swale were for discarded cigarette butts, which amounted to £97,000 for the council.
Although that seems quite high, a spokesman for the authority said it spends over £1million each year to clean up the borough.
The spokesperson noted: “Not only do cigarette butts look unsightly, they contain single-use plastics and toxic chemicals that can linger in the environment for many years.
“Littering of any kind may be subject to a fixed penalty notice of £150, and this includes cigarette butts.”
So basically, if you don’t want to get a ridiculous fine, don’t smoke in Swale.