Kingswood man ordered to pay almost £1000 after being prosecuted for littering

Cigarette butts visible though a drain grill
Indicative image of cigarette ends in a drain

A Kingswood man has been ordered to pay almost £1000 after being found guilty of littering in South Gloucestershire, following the first court case related to South Gloucestershire Council’s new Street Enforcement service.

Naresh Mahay, 30, of Fairview Road in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire was found guilty in his absence after failing to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday 8 August. He was fined £220 along with a £34 victim surcharge and ordered to pay costs of £745, making a total of £999.

The court heard that on 11 March 2022, South Gloucestershire Council’s Street Enforcement Officers were on uniform patrol in Regent Street, Kingswood when they saw Mahay standing outside a betting shop smoking a cigarette.

As they were observing, they saw Mahay throw his cigarette end away and walk back into the bookmakers. It subsequently transpired that he had thrown the cigarette end down the drain near to where he had been stood. The officer approached Mahay and pointed out the offence of littering.

Mahay argued that he had thrown it down the drain, however he was advised that this was still a littering offence, and was issued a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

Subsequent checks revealed that Mahay failed to resolve the FPN by making any payment so prosecution for the offence of littering via the court was progressed.

Councillor Rachael Hunt, cabinet member responsible for environmental enforcement at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “Discarding cigarette ends is becoming one of the most common forms of littering that the Street Enforcement Officers are encountering, especially in our high street locations and I am pleased by this outcome, which is the first court case related to the work of South Gloucestershire Council’s new Street Enforcement service that we introduced at the start of the year.

“Smokers are encouraged to dispose of their smoking litter in the bins provided or take it home with them. There is a common misconception that by throwing the cigarette litter down the drain that is somehow a lesser thing to do than throwing it on the ground. However, both instances constitute littering with those thrown down drains eventually making their way into water courses and potentially even the sea/ocean. It can take between 18 months and 10 years for the component parts of a cigarette end to decompose.”