A FUMING mum has slammed a council contractor after she was wrongly accused of dropping a cigarette outside a supermarket.

Susan Little, 60, of Old London Road, Flint, is adamant she extinguished and disposed of the stub properly before entering Sainsbury’s on the town’s retail park in August.

She was even backed up by the store’s security team, who looked back at CCTV footage, but council contractor Kingdom Security pressed ahead with a recommendation to prosecute.

Mrs Little stood her ground as the company sent increasingly hostile letters, first demanding £75 and then bumping the fine up to £125 and insisting on immediate payment.

She and her solicitor arrived at Flintshire Magistrates Court yesterday ready to do battle only to find the case had been dropped without their knowledge.

Mrs Little, a support worker for Flintshire Council, told the Leader: “So I’m now facing a solicitor’s bill and a wasted day, and a wasted day for my daughter Laura who travelled from Stafford.

”Basically I’m going to have to pay for the privilege of not dropping a cigarette!

“It’s just disgusting. How many other people have paid up, just because they’ve been intimidated and frightened? It’s not on.”

She said a conviction could have left her jobless and unable to visit her son Michael, 30, who lives in the United States.

“I’m really angry,” she said. “It’s been stressing me out. Let’s just say Kingdom are not the nicest of people. I could say worse but I’m a lady!”

Describing her ordeal, Mrs Little said she had been smoking a cigarette on the short journey from Iceland to Sainsbury’s at about  11am on August 11.

She got out of her car and wandered over to the supermarket entrance, stubbing out the cigarette and putting it in the bin provided near the ATM machine.

When she emerged from the supermarket 45 minutes later with her shopping she was surprised to see a man dressed in a black uniform with a body camera waiting by her car.

“He flashed his ID at me and said ‘I’ve got you on CCTV dropping a cigarette’,” Mrs Little said. “I was so taken aback.”

She asked him to show her the footage, which he refused. She later contacted the security team at Sainsbury’s which verified her account of what happened in a letter.

Fearful of having a record, she was tempted to pay up until her daughter Laura, 26, urged her to fight her corner.

Mrs Little said the aggressive letters she received in August, September and November last year, as well as the court summons she received over Christmas, had left her feeling extremely stressed.

She has been backed by friend Heather Cunningham, who is a member of the North Wales Against Kingdom Security Facebook page.

She said Mrs Little’s case was far from an isolated one and Flintshire Council needed to take action to rein in their contractor.

“They have to be stopped,” she said. “I’ve written to Mark Tami MP and I’ve written to all the councillors. I’ve even written to Question Time but have not had an answer yet.”

Steve Jones, Flintshire Council’s chief officer for Streetscene and transportation, said: “The decision not to proceed with the case was made by the council on January 16, 2018.

”Both the court and Mrs Little were written to on this date, notifying them of the decision and it is therefore concerning that Mrs Little then attended the hearing.

”As a result of the incident the council will be reviewing the notification process to ensure this situation is not repeated in future.”

Picture:  Susan Little (left) with daughter Laura