I prevented a kid getting an £80 litter fine – but was I right to do so?

Members of Canterbury City Council's enforcement team (file pic)

As I wheeled around the corner of Watling Street past the Three Tuns, the view down Castle Street was as unremarkable as ever for mid-morning on a Wednesday with people going about their business.

Directly in front of the metal bollards which separate the road was a kid of about 17 or 18 idly smoking the end of a poorly constructed rolled-up cigarette.

Again, nothing unusual about that – except that as I came further into the street, I spotted two of Canterbury City Council’s paramilitary style enforcement officers in the distance.

They were stopped about 50 yards down the road, pressed tightly against the wall like a pair of furtive predators about to pounce on their prey.

For it was immediately clear to me that they only had eyes for the moped rider who had his back to them and was completely oblivious to their presence.

In that instant, something came over me. I marched straight over to the boy: “Mate, whatever you do, don’t drop that fag on the floor,” I said.

“Aye? What?”

“There are two enforcement officers right behind and they are literally waiting for you to drop the cigarette before they come down here and give you a fine.”

An £80 fine, at that.

The lad looked sheepish and didn’t bother to look round at the officers, who had by now worked out what I had said to him and started to wander towards us.

“Oh, right,” the kid said. “Thanks.”

So why did do it? I’m as much against mess as anyone – and having taken part in numerous community litter picks, I’m well aware of how many fag butts are strewn on our streets.

There was something, I suppose, inside me saying that I could prevent this lad’s day being ruined. Maybe he’ll even think twice about potentially dropping his butts again. I hope so.

But were my actions right? Others should be probably be judges of that…


  1. Oh Yes you did the right thing. These officers chase the smokers ready to drop a teeny tiny fab butt because sadly they’re easy targets. Go look for bigger targets boys…

  2. Yes. You did the right thing. If the fine was for littering and not just as a revenue earner, then the officers would ask the culprit to pick up what they have dropped. But I have never seen or heard of any of the enforcement officers getting the dropped item disposed of correctly. So it is not to keep our streets cleaner, it to fine and earn. A very poor example to set.

  3. What the hell are they doing going round in pairs. Have they not heard of video cameras. This practice is halving the littering enforcement or doubling the bill; either one but not neither.


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