A MOTHER said she was “devastated” after being hit in the pocket to the tune of £470 for dropping a cigarette butt.
Claire Forrester, of Sealand Avenue, Garden City, said the spiralled costs were a “ridiculous” amount of money to have to pay out for the offence.
Mother-of-three Miss Forrester, 34, said she could not afford to pay the original £75 fine she was hit with after she was caught dropping a cigarette butt outside Iceland on Victoria Road in Shotton in March.
On June 26, Flintshire Council’s Operation-Clean-Up scheme carried out a successful prosecution against her at Flintshire Magistrates Court in her absence.
Miss Forrester, who works part-time as a carer at Willowdale Residential Home in Buckley, said: “I think it is a lot of money.
“I didn’t go to court but I didn’t think the fine would be that much. It’s horrific.
“I was devastated – all that money for one fag stump.”
Miss Forrester said she will have to set up a weekly payment to pay off the hefty fine in instalments.
She said that since the incident, it has “made her think twice” about dropping a cigarette butt on the floor.
Flintshire Council says: “When hit 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 takes 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 the scheme is designed to “send out a strong message” to the minority of people who still persist in littering the streets of Flintshire.
He added: “The scheme is about residents being able to enjoy clean roads and public places and the council will not tolerate littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping or graffiti.
He warned: “If people don’t pay the initial fines, the council will prosecute.”
Residents can report incidents of dog fouling, littering, fly-tipping and graffiti by calling 01352 701234.
See full story in the Leader