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Man fined for spitting down a drain in Leyton
A man was given an £80 fine for spitting down a drain last night.
The man, who did not wish to be named, was in High Road, Leyton, just before 10pm when he spat in a drain while it was raining, claiming he has asthma and needs to regularly clear his chest of mucus.
Council enforcement officer, Arron Hanson, issued the man with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) on the back of a court ruling two weeks ago backing Waltham Forest’s decision to fine people for spitting in the street.
The man told Mr Hanson the fine was “absolutely ridiculous” after he spat into a drain, which he claimed was a “waste receptacle.”
The council has a zero tolerance policy on spitting in the street so the man was advised to appeal against the FPN if he did not wish to pay it.
Two men, who were both issued with an £80 fine for spitting in February, were pursued through the courts and found guilty at Thames Magistrates Court two weeks ago.
These were important test cases as it was unclear if Waltham Forest had any legal basis to fine people for spitting by classifying it as a littering offence.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the courts have backed our tough stance on this issue.
“I think now we have tested this in the courtroom and been successful, many of those councils will be following our lead.”
Cllr Loakes added last night: “It’s about respect of the public realm and the council should do something about it.”
The council have issued a total of 31 FPNs for spitting to date, with more prosecutions in the pipeline.
In July Waltham Forest Council launched its ‘Don’t Mess with Waltham Forest’ campaign, which is backed by the Guardian, to target six forms of enviro-crime – spitting, litter, urination, dog mess, cigarette butts and takeaway litter.
In August and September, enforcement officers handed out 89 FPNs including 21 for littering and 22 for fly-posting.
The council plan to run the campaign for at least a year and aims to bring about a change in culture whereby spitting and littering become socially unacceptable.
The council denies that the scheme is about generating income.
A spokesman for the council said: “It doesn’t work like that. Even if half of them paid their fines it’s a drop in the ocean. The whole idea that it’s money-making is just nonsense.”
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