Smokers fined over £1,000 each for discarding cigarette butts onto Sunderland's streets

Smokers have been fined thousands of pounds for discarding their cigarette butts onto the ground in Sunderland and Washington.

The five culprits, who were prosecuted by Sunderland City Council, were each fined £1,110 pounds after failing to pay the initial Fixed Penalty Notice of £150.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court, who imposed the fines, also charged each of the offenders £235 in costs after they failed to appear in court. Due to their non attendance, all five incidents were “proven in absence”.

Legal proceedings were invoked after the five offenders failed to respond to reminder letters.

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Sunderland City Council hopes the fines will act as a warning to others to dispose of their cigarette ends and other waste in the correct way.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Claire Rowntree, said: "Most people manage to dispose of their cigarette ends properly. Unfortunately, there is a minority who do not do this and they run the risk of £150 Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and if they ignore warning letters they can face court action."Smoking is an unhealthy habit and can be even more expensive if you do not dispose of your cigarette ends properly. As we can see from these fines, the magistrates are also taking a very dim view of smokers who litter our city."Complaints against litter and fly-tipping are regularly received across the Council and we are determined, as are most people are in our city, not to put up with the minority who cannot dispose of their waste and litter properly and legally."

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Sunderland City Council took court action against five people after they dropped cigarette ends in and around the city.

Those fined were Margaret Ferguson, from Gladstone Terrace, Washington after an offence at Peel Retail Park on June 28 and Joanne Watson from Collin Avenue, South Shields, following an incident outside McDonalds in Sunderland city centre.

Other city centre offences were carried out by Liam Martin of Clovelly Road following an offence outside Marks & Spencer, Racheal Palin of Blind Lane, Silksworth, for an incident outside Sports Direct and Lacey James, from Riversdale Terrace, following an offence at Market Square.In the last two years, 452 people have received Fixed Penalty Notices for littering in Sunderland.The cases were heard by the court on Wednesday December 15. All the offences took place this year.

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