Throwing plastic spoon out of window costs Sunderland van driver more than £600

Sunderland Magistrates' Court
Sunderland Magistrates' Court

Throwing a plastic spoon out of his van window cost a Sunderland man more than £600 after he failed to show up to court.

But city magistrates heard Adam Campbell would have been left just £50 out of pocket if he had paid a fixed penalty charge in time.

Clean Streets is an Echo campaign calling on the city to be kept litter-free.

Clean Streets is an Echo campaign calling on the city to be kept litter-free.

Michelle Irving, for Sunderland City Council, told the court a member of the council’s environmental team had been sitting behind a van at the Barnes traffic lights in November last year, when she saw the driver throw a plastic spoon out at the side of the road.

“She saw the driver was a male, alone in the cab, steering with one hand and holding what appeared to be a white polystyrene cup in the other hand.”

Enquiries had been made with Northumbria Police and the van’s registration number had been traced to Campbell’s employer.

“Adam Campbell contacted the team and requested the opportunity to attend the office,” said Ms Irving.

He attended the office later that day and did admit depositing a plastic spoon out of the window while driving.

Michelle Irving

“He attended the office later that day and did admit depositing a plastic spoon out of the window while driving.”

He had described the offence as ‘just a stupid mistake’ and was given the option to pay a fixed penalty notice, which he accepted.

The fine would have been £75, reduced to £50 if paid within ten days.

But Campbell had failed to pay up. Two reminder letters had been sent, to no avail, and then a third with notice of the council’s intent to prosecute.

Campbell, of Mariner Square, Hendon, failed to attend at court and magistrates found the case proved in his absence.

He was fined £440, with £120 costs and £44 victim surcharge - a total of £604.

The Echo launched its Clean Streets campaign in response to concern from readers about the state of the city’s streets. Since the beginning of last year, the city council has issued 1,390 Formal Warnings and Notices and served 173 Fixed Penalty Notices for environmental crimes across the city, including littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping.