Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

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Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


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  1. #1
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    Default yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Earlier today as I was about to enter a shop I dropped my roll up on section of ground outside their entrance.


    I was approached by an environmental office equipped with a video camera who proceeded to fine me.


    I pointed out that it was on the shop's property but he said that it made no difference and that the wind might blow it onto the public highway.


    Am I liable for the fine?


    I appreciate that litter is a problem but by the time I have ground a roll up into the ground with the sole of my shoe, there is no visible evidence. His distraction prevented me from doing so on this occasion


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    So you admit to littering but dont want to pay the price? The rules are there for a reason. Ciggarette buts are disgusting, ground up or not. Anyway.... If you want to challenge it, go for it. But don't expect to win. A lot of councils are clamping down on it big time lately. m,ainly due to a lot of people thinking they can throw their litter wherever they want, instead of in a bin.

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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    I certainly agree with the anti-smoking sentiment and the anti-littering sentiment – but from the point of view of fair application of the rules, it amazes me that it would be an offence to drop litter on private property.

    I think that it is worth querying this but I'm not sure where you would go. I would start off by taking a picture of the place that you drop the cigarette, make sure that it is part of the property – or the "curtilage" of the property and establish that if it is part of the curtilage make sure that that is not taken as part of the public highway.

    The inspectors comment to you there it might blow onto the public highway is ridiculous – and I hope you have made a note of it. If you haven't then do that now. Whether any witnesses to that statement?



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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Quote Originally Posted by renegadeimp View Post
    So you admit to littering but dont want to pay the price? The rules are there for a reason. Ciggarette buts are disgusting, ground up or not. Anyway.... If you want to challenge it, go for it. But don't expect to win. A lot of councils are clamping down on it big time lately. m,ainly due to a lot of people thinking they can throw their litter wherever they want, instead of in a bin.
    Having a bad day?

    I think this is a bit harsh and doesn't deal with the main issue.



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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    @renegadeimp


    it was not a cigarette but. It was the end of a roll up. If it had been ground away to nothing then how could it be disgusting?


    Besides, I am asking for advice as to whether the council has authority on the section of land directly outside the shop where they display their wares..


    I am not in a particularly good mood and would rather not receive a lecture about smoking


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    @bankfodder


    thank you for the reply. The officer was recording the incident. I shall however take additional photos.


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    How do they know who you are to enforce any fine, particularly as (rightly or wrongly) you denied any wrongdoing?

    I express my honestly held opinions - they are nothing more or less than that.

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    I do wish people would stop referring to these as fines. Only a court can fine you

    They are civil penalty orders

    I think you will find that you will be liable. Shops are allowed to put up stalls to show their wares outside as long as they do not cause an obstruction.

    It is whats known as "Street Furniture" The same as a telephone box or litter bin for which the local authority will have full control over.

    The issue will be where the highway boundary is. Does it end at the front door of the shop or meets the pavement for example.


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    The land may be private property but the council can claim certain rights over it if certain conditions are met and these include accessibility from the highway (no step up and the contiguous land allows the council to be awkward when they feel like it), maintenance segregation by boundary (no defined boundary and the council can claim it is for them to decide who does what there (appeal court case about 4 years ago based on a dentist in Camden parking his moped on his own property where there was no differentiation between his land and the pavement, despite a basement underneath). Other areas which you would fall foul of the dreaded wardens would be garage forecourts, hedges and walls of all types that face onto the public highway, some graveyards/church doorways etc.
    So, not as straightforward as it seems but if the land is provably someone else's the council will probably back down rather than spend a million proving themselves right BUT not always where there is money to be made....


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Why did you give your details to a civil enforcement officer?
    They're only there to make a profit, using the guise of ''keeping out towns and cities clean''.

    If you'd have picked it up and put it in the bin, then that would have been the end of the matter, camera or not.


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    I would have considered just walking away..


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Quote Originally Posted by Consumer dude View Post
    I would have considered just walking away..
    And me, I don't give them the time of day round here, there's nothing they can do.


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Quote Originally Posted by renegadeimp View Post
    So you admit to littering but dont want to pay the price? The rules are there for a reason. Ciggarette buts are disgusting, ground up or not. Anyway.... If you want to challenge it, go for it. But don't expect to win. A lot of councils are clamping down on it big time lately. m,ainly due to a lot of people thinking they can throw their litter wherever they want, instead of in a bin.
    Putting things in context.

    I do not smoke cigarettes with filters (ever). On the odd occasion that I purchase pre-rolled cigarettes with filters, I snap them off and (always, always,always) put them in my pocket.

    A cigarette filter is typically 2 to 2.5cm long and most smokers tend to leave at least another 1 cm of paper/tobacco, resulting in (up to) 3.5 cm at 0.9 cm (diameter). That is (3.14x0.45x0.45x3.5) a total volume of 2.25cm cubed. A cigarette butt on its own would be (3.14x0.45x0.45x2.5) 1.59 cm cubed.

    My roll up was approximately 1.2cm long at a diameter of 0.4cm, (incidentally the last third is void of tobacco). That makes a volume of (3.14X0.2x0.2x1.2) 0.15 cm cubed.

    So I would have to discard 15 roll up "ends" to generate as much litter (by volume) as a standard cigarette butt. The key difference is that my "litter" does not persist.

    To demonstrate my point I have taken photos of a roll up and a roll up after it has been ground under heal. Unfortunately I am not sure how to uploadicon the images. I would be very surprised if you were able to spot any "litter" after the event.


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    If you dropped the butt on private property there's nothing they can do.
    I saw a guy making the same argument when he dropped a butt at the entrance of an underground station.
    The enforcement officer wanted to give him the 80 charge but the guy told him to get lost as he was on private property.
    He then proceeded to pass the gates with his ticket and gave the officer the middle finger.
    On another occasion I saw another guy walking off and the officer grabbing him by the arm.
    He threw himself on the floor screaming like he had been hit by a lorry.
    Police and ambulance arrived and they cautioned the enforcement officer.
    They then took him away in the police car.
    Would it be rude to use the word "NICE"?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Boo View Post
    Why did you give your details to a civil enforcement officer?
    They're only there to make a profit, using the guise of ''keeping out towns and cities clean''.

    If you'd have picked it up and put it in the bin, then that would have been the end of the matter, camera or not.
    I did pick it up and put it in my pocket as soon as he mentioned it (there was no bin near by). He insisted that I had committed an offence and that picking it up made no difference.

    He gave me the impression that he was an Ealing Council environmental officer. I have since discovered that he was probably working for private contractors called Kingdom Security. As of yesterday they have offered to hand penalties out to the "criminals" in Ealing in return for a slice off all penalties paid to Ealing council.

    http://www.ealing.gov.uk/news/articl...ntal_crackdown

    He had no incentive to allow me to pick it up. The set up is akin to the private parking contractors that operate outside Ealing broadway tube station. Drivers picking up/dropping off passengers are allowed to pull on to the single yellow line but many pull into an empty parking bay to drop off, thinking that they are being civil minded/considerate. In the meantime the firm are surreptitiously photographing the cars rather than warning them.


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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    If you do not give your details when requested they will simply inform the old Bill to come and get your deails. If you do anything naughty or walk off they will radio CCTV and track you until the old bill arrive.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Quote Originally Posted by king12345 View Post
    If you dropped the butt on private property there's nothing they can do.
    I saw a guy making the same argument when he dropped a butt at the entrance of an underground station.
    The enforcement officer wanted to give him the 80 charge but the guy told him to get lost as he was on private property.
    He then proceeded to pass the gates with his ticket and gave the officer the middle finger.
    On another occasion I saw another guy walking off and the officer grabbing him by the arm.
    He threw himself on the floor screaming like he had been hit by a lorry.
    Police and ambulance arrived and they cautioned the enforcement officer.
    They then took him away in the police car.
    Would it be rude to use the word "NICE"?

    I am not certain if the property is private or not. The area was that outside the shop where they display their wares but perhaps it is indeed part of the pavement. I honestly don't know. There is a definitely line that seems to delineate the paving slabs laid by the council and the paving used by (what I assume is the freeholder).

    Had i known that he was an employee of a private contractor, i might well have ignored him. That said, i didn't.

    Ironically, after work, I popped into a Weatherspoon pub in Raynes Lane. It has tables and chairs in a section of the pavement that is cordoned off. There were no ashtrays.

    Had I been in Ealing and he had seen me drop anything, I guess that he would have attempted to hand me a penalty.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    Quote Originally Posted by obiter dictum View Post
    If you do not give your details when requested they will simply inform the old Bill to come and get your deails. If you do anything naughty or walk off they will radio CCTV and track you until the old bill arrive.
    I did think that might be the case. I was walking in to a shop, and would have exit via the entry.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: yet another 80 cigarette dropping fine

    I guess that there are some people here that consider that I got my just deserts.

    My GF has done some research on my behalf and seems to think that one can not appeal against the penalty. You can reserve the right to go to court though, which is probably more money than I can afford to lose.

    AFAIK the penalty is a fixed 80, with no discount for paying early and not contesting the charge, unlike parking infractions.

    Is this standard practice? Or is it more likely to be the case that the private enforcement firm would not be interested in lower penalty charges.

    Additionally is anyone aware of any other councils that use these kind of firms to hand out litter penalty charge notices.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by obiter dictum View Post
    If you do not give your details when requested they will simply inform the old Bill to come and get your deails. If you do anything naughty or walk off they will radio CCTV and track you until the old bill arrive.
    Imagine the call to 999:
    "Hello, i am a private contactor milking money off innocent citizens.
    One of them dropped a whole gram of tobacco wrapped around the end of a rizla paper and when challenged he picked it up and walked off"
    Operator: "the armed team is in the way"

    Come on guys... Police don't have time for this sort of rubbish.
    They're already stretched as it is, they won't give any priority to such calls.

    If they happen to pass by they might intervene, but given that you had picked the butt and were probably on private property, they would have probably let you go.



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