A FULL-time carer and mother of five says she is outraged after receiving a £210 littering fine.
Shelley Hunstone, from Mold, told the Leader she believes the fine for dropping a cigarette butt is excessive and she would have picked it up if she had been given the opportunity.
Shelley, 33, of Bromfield Park, was spotted by Flintshire Council’s Operation Clean-up officers dropping the cigarette on Clayton Road, Mold, on April 29.
But after opting not to pay the £75 Fixed Penalty Notice she was initially issued with within 14 days, she was fined £210 by magistrates in Wrexham on July 10 after being prosecuted by the council.
“If I had been given the opportunity to pick it back up than I would have because I don't drop litter as a rule and it isn’t something I bring my children up to do either,” Miss Hunstone said.
“If I had been given the chance and refused to pick it up then I would have expected to be fined.
“I offered to pick it up but they still fined me.
“I didn’t know it was against the law to drop a cigarette butt and I am upset and angry about the fine I have received.”
Shelley is a full-time carer for her mother and says the fine will hit her pocket at a time when her own children are off school for the summer holidays.
“It has put financial pressure on me,” she said.
“My kids want to go places in the holidays and I will also need to buy new uniforms for them for the next school year.
“A warning would have been sufficient for me not to do it again.”
When served with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for dog fouling, littering or graffiti, paying the fine as soon as possible can reduce the amount.
A standard FPN carries a fine of £75 but this is reduced to £50 if paid within seven days.
Problems occur when the fine remains unpaid. Flintshire Council can take the case to prosecution and once it is passed to the courts the council has no control over the level of fine if the prosecution is successful.
Cllr Kevin Jones, cabinet member for waste strategy, public protection and leisure said: “Operation Clean-Up is designed to send out a strong message to the minority of people who still persist in littering the streets of Flintshire.
“The scheme is about residents being able to enjoy clean roads and public places and council will not tolerate littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping or graffiti.”