Sunderland smokers pick up the tab after being fined for littering in city centre
Two Sunderland smokers have been left to pick up the tab after being taken to court.
Samantha Jackson and Omer Havel ignored reminders about fixed penalty notices served on them by Sunderland City Council for dropping litter in the city centre.
Jackson, 32, of Pennygate Square, Pennywell was ordered to pay £509.50 after being prosecuted for dropping a lit cigarette on the ground near the Bridges multi storey car park in April - despite being just metres away from the nearest litter bin.
She was spotted by an Environmental Enforcement Officer, who served her with a £150 fixed penalty notice but the council took the case to court after she failed to pay despite two reminder notices.
Sunderland Magistrates Court fined Jackson £220 and ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £30 plus £259.50 costs.
Omer Havel, 34, of Roker Avenue, was fined £220 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 plus £240.50 costs - totalling £490.50 - after being spotted throwing a cellophane cigarette packet wrapper on the ground in Park Lane in May.
Several litter bins were nearby but Havel made no attempt to use them.
Havel was also served with a £150 fixed penalty notice after being observed by an Environmental Enforcement Officer and was taken to court after failing to pay despite two reminder notices.
Coun Amy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: "I hope these prosecutions send out the strong message that we are not prepared to see people treating the streets of our city like a dustbin.
"We can and we will take enforcement action against people we catch dropping litter and we will take them to court if they fail to pay up.
"The vast majority of our residents take a pride in their city and dispose of their litter responsibly so it's only right that we should clamp down on those who don't."
The Echo launched its Clean Streets campaign back in 2017 after readers said cleanliness of public spaces in the city was their chief concern.