Court hits smokers with fines after they discard their cigarette butts

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A court has ordered a group of smokers to pay a total of more than £2,000 after they were caught discarding their cigarette butts in Canterbury’s streets.

Seven people were prosecuted by Canterbury City Council at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (7 August) after they failed to pay fixed penalty notices of £80 despite being caught littering by its uniformed enforcement officers earlier this year.

Cllr Neil Baker, Chairman of Canterbury City Council’s Community Committee, said: “These cases show we will not hesitate to prosecute those who litter our streets no matter what they leave on the pavement or in the gutter.

“Research shows many smokers do not consider discarding their butts as littering and think they are just an easy target for our officers.

“But cigarette butts are highly toxic and are laced with chemicals like arsenic, acetone, lead, formaldehyde and pesticides.

“The butts themselves take years to break down and the filters are made from plastic fibres called cellulose acetate adding to the world’s plastic problem.

“One cigarette end might seem insignificant but added together they amount to tonnes of rubbish and cost council taxpayers enormous amounts of money to clear up.”

Those prosecuted were:

  • Andrew Benzies, 49, of Brickfield Close, Bridge, who was found guilty in his absence and fined £220. He was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
  • Philip Birch, 62, of Tudor Road, Canterbury, who was found guilty in his absence and fined £220. He was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
  • Francis Gnanjeyarajah, 21, of Parham Road, Canterbury, who was found guilty in his absence and fined £220. He was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
  • Codey Malone, 30, of River Bend Close, Canterbury, who was found guilty in his absence and fined £220. He was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
  • Jacob Wells, 21, of St Martins Road, Canterbury, who was found guilty in his absence and fined £220. He was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
  • Tony Gill, 21, of Riverview, Sturry, who pleaded guilty by post and was fined £147. He was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
  • Guy Carroll, 42, The Avenue, Hersden, appeared in court to plead guilty. He was given a conditional discharge, ordered to pay £60 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Canterbury City Council employs its own enforcement officers and they do not receive bonuses.

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