A judge has backed Cheshire East Council’s ‘get tough’ approach to littering and fly-tipping and thrown out a litter lout’s appeal against conviction.
Dr James Carey, 63, of Goulden Street, Crewe, was fined £80 with costs of £930 in June for dropping a cigarette in Earle Street in Crewe. He was also ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.
Carey had admitted dropping the cigarette but denied leaving it. He pleaded not guilty to the offence of littering but was convicted after a two-hour trial.
A judge sitting at Chester Crown Court has now rejected his appeal against conviction and Cheshire East Council has been awarded a further £120 court costs – taking the total amount Carey has been ordered to pay out to £1,160.
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration said, “Whilst this may seem like a large fine for dropping a cigarette, the council takes a zero tolerance approach against environmental crimes and we do not accept any level of littering in our towns and countryside.
“There is no financial incentive for the council to prosecute, given that any fine awarded in court goes to central government. The council only keeps the costs awarded and a victim surcharge, which are relatively small amounts compared to the fine. Money from fixed penalty notices (FPNs) is kept locally by the council and is used to help fund environmental services.
“This case was very much about the council saying that we know that the majority of residents want our beautiful borough to be kept as clean as possible and that we take very seriously all levels of environmental crime. There are many unsung heroes helping to keep their own communities clean and tidy and it is only right that we take tough action on those who choose to litter, fly-tip or let their dogs foul our communities.”
Cheshire East Council began its ‘Keep Crewe Clean’ campaign in September 2016, employing a team of enforcement officers to prosecute incidents of fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling.
Fly-tipping, dropping litter and dog fouling are all environmental crimes which can be reported online at: cheshireeast.gov.uk/environment or by ringing 0300 123 5011. The website also contains lots of information to help residents with their waste and recycling.