Man left with £600 bill for dropping cigarette butt in street

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A MAN has been left to pick up a court bill totalling more than £600 after dropping a cigarette butt in Durham city centre.

Gary Barton, of Oak Lea, Witton Gilbert, was spotted by a neighbourhood warden from Durham County Council throwing the cigarette butt onto the ground outside the Gates Shopping Centre in August 2014.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard how Barton, 46, then walked off without making any attempt to pick the litter up.

He was approached by the warden, who told him the offence was subject to a fixed penalty notice.

Police were called to confirm Barton’s identity after he refused to give his details and he was handed an £80 fixed penalty – reduced to £50 if he paid within 10 days.

The fixed penalty remains unpaid.

Barton denied the offence at an earlier court hearing, but failed to attend his trial yesterday, and was found guilty in his absence.

Magistrates fined him £200 and he was ordered to pay £390 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.