Vaper's Litter Fine Fight

Posted 19th August 2019 by Dave Cross
Taxi driver Chris Jones was fined £600 for dropping a cigarette in public, based on witness testimony by a Kingdom Services Group (KSG) “litter police” employee. KSG were employed by Wirral Council to enforce anti-littering policies. The problem for Cabbie Chris is that he is now a vaper and not a smoker so it could never have happened. Jones has just won his appeal.

The KSG have been courting controversy long before they claimed to have seen Cabbie Chris dump a cigarette butt out of his taxi window last October. Jones says he was vaping at the time and the enforcement officer was fully aware of the fact. “He knew it was an e-cigarette I had been smoking – he just wanted to get his bonus,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

KSG’s man told the court that he picked up a fag end that Jones had disposed of out of his taxi window. The court believed the enforcement officer and fined Jones £300 along with a charge of £300 court costs.

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Cabbie Chris refused to accept the decision and contracted a firm of solicitors to work on his appeal. “It was for all the old people that can’t afford to do it, sitting without gas or electricity or going without their food to pay the fines,” he added.

The appeal was held at Liverpool Crown Court, where the judge overturned the original decision.

KSG held a contract due to run until 2021, but this has been cancelled due to repeated problems. The Liverpool Echo speaks of a “public backlash” and KSG officers being threatened. Many videos have been uploaded to YouTube.

Details

Last year, the “litter police” chased an old man onto a tourist bus in the city centre. The visitor from Yorkshire had just got off a City Explorer bus and dropped his cigarette onto the floor. The newspaper said that witnesses claimed the KSG staff had “been hiding around the corner” and “pounced on him”.

The KSG officer ordered the OAP off the bus and handed him a £50 fine.

A witness said: “There was one older man - who must have been in his eighties - waiting for the bus and he had a cigarette and he did drop it on the floor. This man was from a different city and there were no bins and no signs around to warn him. Why couldn’t they have just come over and told him to pick it up?”

At this point the passengers on the bus held a whip-round and raised the money to pay the OAP’s fine.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker