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Non-smoker is given ticket over cigarette butt

June 2, 2005

A non-smoking driver was astonished to receive a fixed penalty notice from a local authority, accusing her of throwing a cigarette butt from her sports car.

Karen Drew, 43, was told she had to pay a 50 fine after allegedly being seen dropping the litter out of her silver Mazda MX5 convertible.

A council worker made a note of her number and claimed to have seen her stretch out her arm and drop the butt.

She admitted being in the car at the time, but wrote to inform environmental health officials that she had never smoked in her life.

Mrs Drew also explained that she recycles her household waste and even cleans up cigarette butts and litter from a bus stop near her home every night. She also sweeps up dog dirt from an area near her front garden to help to keep the streets tidy.

Mrs Drew was said to have committed the offence at 8.30am a few hundred yards from her home in Wath-upon-Dearne, near Rotherham, South Yorks.

She said: "I have been told by the council that an official spotted me dropping the cigarette but how they got their wires crossed is beyond me. What makes me even angrier is that they have not had the courtesy to apologise. It seems there are council officials on the roadside taking registration details and wrongly accusing people. The only thing they got wrong was the fact that I was smoking.

"They couldn't be farther from the truth. I am anti-smoking and I am anything but a litter bug." Mrs Drew, who works for a mobile telephone company, pointed out that her husband Nick, also 43, was a non-smoker too.

Rotherham council said it had decided not to pursue the case against her after "carefully considering all the evidence".

A spokesman said: "There were a number of other issues raised by the appeal letter as well as the issue of the woman being a non-smoker and it was after considering all those points that we reached this decision."


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