Sunderland smokers fined after using city streets as ashtrays
Two smokers who used city streets as ashtrays have each been left with court bills of nearly £500.
Some 17 smokers were ordered to pay fines, costs and victim surcharges by the courts in September after they littered Sunderland with their cigarette ends.All the defendants had been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £150 for the offence of littering but failed to pay the penalty charge despite reminder letters. Therefore the matters were referred for legal proceedings.And on October 6, another two defendants who also failed to pay £150 Fixed Penalty Notices for cigarette littering and act on reminder letters, faced legal proceedings at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.Neither attended court and the cases were found proven in their absence.Hayley Pocock. of Rowan Avenue, Washington, offence witnessed in the bus station of the Galleries Shopping Centre, Washington, in June this year.She was fined £220, ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £34 and costs of £235.Emma Murdy, of Ethel Terrace, Castletown, offence witnessed in Ethel Terrace, in March this year.She was fined £220, ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £34 and costs of £235.Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: "The vast majority of city residents and visitors manage to dispose of their waste and litter both legally and properly."Unfortunately, there is a minority who do not do this and they run the risk of Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and court action if they ignore their notices and warning letters."Councillors regularly receive complaints about littering and, as in previous weeks, these fines send out a very strong message that smoking can be a very expensive habit if you don't stub your cigarettes out in an ashtray."People want and expect a clean city and so we are prepared to take action against a minority who can't dispose of their litter properly."Because these people ignored the Penalty Notice for littering, legal action followed and, as can be seen from the fines, the courts take these matters seriously."In the last two years, more than 300 people have received Fixed Penalty Notices for littering in Sunderland.