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Motorist fined £1,000 after flicking cigarette butt out of car window

A motorist was fined a whopping £1,000 after she flicked her cigarette butt out of her car window.

How much do you think you ought be fined if you flicked your cigarette butt out of your car window? A few hundred pounds? None at all? Well Alexandra O’Shea, 20, was whacked with an almighty fine of £1,000 when she refused to pay a £75 on-the-spot fine for flicking her cigarette out of her car window while driving through Bristol.

Ms O’Shea was spotted by two Police Community Support Officers as she flicked the butt into the street, who tracked her down and issued her with a fine for littering. This would have cost her £75. After refusing to pay it, however, Bristol City Council took O’Shea to court.

Carol Donovan, a street scene officer for Bristol City Council, said: “We wrote to her telling her that if she did not pay that we would take her to court. She ignored this, and failed to turn up when the case was heard, despite reminders, and then magistrates obviously took her behaviour very seriously.”

Ms O’Shea was ordered to pay a fine of £600, alongside costs of £361.08 and a £60 victim surcharge. 

“People tend to think that littering is a victimless crime but the reality is it affects us all,” Andy Walker, from the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, commented. “According to research, littering costs the country around £1 billion every single year and it is a major cost for councils such as Bristol City Council.”

“Every time someone drops litter in the street, we are all having to pay to clean it up. If this person had paid the fine and not ignored the court letters then she would not have got herself in such a mess,” Mr Walker added.

Jonquil Maudlin, council neighbourhood enforcement manager, said: “People should be aware that cigarette ends are just as much litter as anything else, and they take a long time to biodegrade, as they are made not of paper, but of plastic filament. They are full of toxic chemicals and it has been found that many have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and other animals who mistake them for food.”

Do you think the driver deserved the £1000 fine? Share your opinion in the comment box below. 

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