Man who claims he was fined £150 for dropping cigarette on floor sparks fly-tipping debate

Giles Kelch, 51 claimed there was a not bins in the area and believes his fine was "unethical"


A man who claims he was fined £150 for dropping a cigarette on the floor has sparked a fly-tipping debate.

Giles Kelch, 51, says smokers are being “targeted” by the rules, claiming his fine was “unethical”.

The incident occurred when he was spotted putting the cigarette butt on the floor by an enforcement officer in Faversham, Kent on behalf of Swale Borough Council.

But Mr Kelch has now argued that there were not enough bins in the area.

Cigarette butts on the ground
Cigarette butts on the ground
Swale Borough Council
Swale Borough Council

He said: "How can you possibly charge £150 for dropping a cigarette butt, which was subsequently picked up and put in a bin?

"It has hardly ruined the whole of Swale. They are doing this in 2022, with costs and energy prices rising.

"I told them, where we live, fly-tipping is everywhere and it gets complained about all the time – but they still don't stick the resources there.

"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.

"I said 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," as quoted by the Mirror.

A spokesperson for Swale Borough Council added: "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.

"It pays for enforcement, as well as environmental projects such as buying litter pickers for beach cleans, installing extra litter bins, and our community environment grants.

"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.

"Last year we issued more than 1,400 FPNs to people caught littering and more than 150 of these were later prosecuted in court for failing to pay the FPN.

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