Was this the most expensive banana ever?

A Herne Bay man who chucked a banana skin out of the window of his van and then ignored a fine for littering has been fined nearly £500 after the city council took the case to court.

Sean McMahan, 26, of Blackburn Road in the town, was due to appear at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 3 January, but failed to attend and was found guilty of the offence in his absence.

The court heard that city council officers and police officers from the Rural Task Force were carrying out a joint operation into illegal waste carriers in Margate Road, Herne Bay, on 10 May 2023 when Mr McMahan was seen throwing the banana skin through the window.

He was stopped and a fixed penalty notice of £150 was issued to him for littering. No payment was made, and in August the council wrote to him to offer a final chance to pay it. No contact was received and the case was passed to the council’s legal team to pursue in court.

In his absence, Mr McMahan was fined £220 with a victim surcharge of £88 and council costs of £180, adding up to a total of £488 to be paid within 28 days.

Cabinet member for enforcement, Cllr Connie Nolan, said: “Many people enjoy a banana but they also make sure that when it’s finished, the skin is put in the bin, not lobbed out of the window of their vehicle. It’s just unacceptable behaviour.

“This case could have been sorted out quickly if Mr McMahan had paid the fine he deservedly received. Instead, it has gone all the way to court.

“A banana that cost only a few pence to start with has landed him with a fine of almost £500. I can’t imagine there will be many bananas more expensive than that.”

On 1 January this year, new fines for littering offences in the Canterbury district came into effect. Fixed penalty notices rose from £150 to £200, with an early payment reduction to £100 if paid within 14 days.

The image on this story is taken from a photo library for illustrative purposes and is not related to the individual case referred to above.

Published: 8 January 2024

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