Bloke says smokers are ‘easy’ targets after dropped cigarette sees £150 fine

A man has been left fuming after he was fined for dropping his cigarette stub and claims smokers are "easy" targets.

Giles Kelch, 51, was spotted on March 29 dropping his stub on the ground in Faversham, Kent, and was fined £150 as a result by an enforcement officer working on behalf of the local council.

He didn't take his fixed penalty notice lightly however, blasting Swale Borough Council for not providing enough bins and describing their approach as "unethical".

He said: "I often pick up other people’s rubbish and stick it in bins and I also pick up other people’s dog poo.

"One cigarette butt is not going to ruin the whole of Swale and I think it is absolutely disgusting. I think they’re trying to make money for the council."

He said this should not be a major issue when costs and energy prices are rising, saying that the council should focus on the extensive fly-tipping in the area.

IT worker Kelch also feels there are not enough signs warning people of the punishments for littering.

He explained: "There are no signs stating if you do it, you’ll be fined, and I think that is unethical in the extreme.

"I don’t see how you can charge people who are unaware it will be enforced, if you don’t put any signs up? If you go to a car park and you don’t pay, you know you will be charged [because of the signs]."

The 51-year-old, who looks after his bed-bound father, has been given an extra month to pay the fine.

He said: "Their take was if you’re walking around and there are no bins, you wait until you get home and stick it in the bin.

"There are only bins in the town centre, but once you come out of it, there is nothing."

He added that the cigarette end was put in the bin once it was pointed out.

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A spokesperson for Swale Borough Council said it spends more than £1million each year cleaning the borough’s streets – with smokers accounting for three-quarters of all litter.

They said: "Not only do cigarette butts look unsightly but they contain single use plastics and toxic chemicals that can persist in the environment for many years.

"Littering of any kind can receive a fixed penalty notice of £150, and that includes cigarette butts.

"Any income we receive from litter FPNs is re-invested into schemes to keep the borough clear of litter.

"We also offer people who have received a smoking-related FPN a £100 refund if they successfully quit smoking through the NHS One You Smokefree programme.

"Residents tell us that having clean streets is important to them and we will continue to issue FPNs to anyone caught littering."

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