Woman slapped with £80 litter fine minutes after arriving in Blackpool

Georgina Hewlitt- Leigh with her discarded cigarette end and her penalty notice after she was collared in Birley Street
Georgina Hewlitt- Leigh with her discarded cigarette end and her penalty notice after she was collared in Birley Street

A woman who travelled for six hours from Somerset to Blackpool was slapped with an £80 fine just a few minutes after arriving in the resort.

Mum-of-two Georgina Hewlitt-Leigh, 50, was handed the fine after dropping the remains of a used cigarette on the pavement outside the Yorkshire Building Society on Birley Street on Tuesday.

Coun Gillian Campbell

Coun Gillian Campbell

The mum, who contacted The Gazette after she was fined, said: “I arrived at around 12 o’clock and I got ticketed about eight minutes later.

“I got out of the car and lit a cigarette and the next thing I know I had a man tapping me on my shoulder saying ‘do you know what you’ve done wrong?’.

“I said I was sorry and went to pick it up but he wasn’t having any of it.

“It was just a force of habit. Obviously if there is a bin around I will use it.”

I’m not paying the fine. I would rather do a 12-hour round trip for the court case

Blackpool imposed a zero tolerance crackdown on litterbugs last year as town hall chiefs teamed up with civil enforcement company 3GS Environmental Enforcement Solutions to hand out fines to people who drop litter or allow their dog to foul in the streets.

The team issued more than £8,000 in fines during their first month patrolling the town centre last year, with the most common offence being the dropping of cigarette ends.

Chef Georgina, from Chard, was scoping out the resort for a family holiday when she was fined.

She said: “I showed him my driving licence and explained that I wouldn’t know about the fines because I don’t live in the area.

“Nowhere are there any signs saying you will be fined £80 if you drop a cigarette end.

“I’m a head chef so I work all the important times of the year on long hours, so when we go on holiday we like to go to a place we enjoy.

“I was going to bring my children and grandchildren all to Blackpool but now I’m not so sure.

“Apart from that experience I really like the town. I can’t believe how cheap things cost here, and the people are really nice.

“I’m not paying the fine.

“I would rather do a 12-hour round trip for the court case!”

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Coun Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Our Keep Blackpool Tidy campaign is working to make Blackpool the tidiest seaside resort in the country by 2020.

“That involves providing more bins, more community litter picks and generally making it easier than ever for people to put their rubbish away.

“People who drop litter are committing an environmental crime.

“Cigarette butts cost a lot of money to clean up as well as creating environmental problems.

“I am not going to apologise if somebody gets fined for breaking the law and I don’t expect anybody else from Blackpool would either.

“We welcome millions of visitors a year to Blackpool who happily tidy up after themselves and put their rubbish in a bin or take it away with them, but anybody who deliberately litters our streets runs the risk of being fined.

“The message is clear; enjoy coming to Blackpool but put your rubbish in the bin.”