A MAN has claimed enforcement officers are "waiting to find victims" after he was fined £200 when his son dropped a cigarette butt. 

Malcolm Bell, from Harwich, was taking a break at the McDonalds near the Colchester Stadium with his son Thomas, 22 at lunchtime on April 9. 

Mr Bell’s son dropped a cigarette butt, and the he claims the pair were immediately stopped by a council officer. 

Mr Bell said: “He dropped the cigarette, which he obviously shouldn’t have done. But then we were approached by an officer, who hindered us from leaving the car park. 


“She read her script about littering and mentioned a £2,500 fine. She also said we were recorded on camera. 

“Then she said this will be a civil matter.” 

Mr Bell paid the £200 fine for littering, which was reduced to £150 as he paid straight away without delay. 

“It was very irritant the way it was done, and on a private car park," he said. 

“The fine doesn’t seem proportional, maybe £50 for a young person, that will hurt their wallet, but £200 is a lot. 

“It could have ended with a civil conviction for my son, who’s about to join the RAF. 

“It seemed very opportunistic, that the officer was just waiting for a victim and to issue a fine.” 


A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “We take littering very seriously. It is not only unsightly, but it can also be harmful to the environment. 

“It can attract vermin, pollute waterways, and make our streets and parks less pleasant for everyone to enjoy. 

“The enforcement of littering laws is carried out by our team of neighbourhood wardens assisted by officers from Waste Investigations Support and Enforcement (WISE), which has been contracted by the council to help us tackle littering and other environmental crimes. 

“Enforcement officers have a duty to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for littering offences that they witness. They are trained to enforce the law fairly and impartially. 

“In the matter raised, the WISE officer who issued the FPN was satisfied that the individual had committed an offence.  

“However, if the individual feels that the FPN was issued unfairly, they can follow advice printed on the FPN and contact WISE directly to make a complaint. WISE has a dedicated complaints process that is independent of Colchester City Council. 

“We are committed to keeping our city clean and tidy, and we believe that FPNs are an effective way to deter littering. We would like to thank the public for their cooperation in helping us to achieve this goal.” 

The official guideline for the council's responsibilities to keep land clear states that  "authorities are responsible for land where all of the following apply: it’s open to the air on at least one side, it’s under their direct control, it’s publicly accessible (with or without payment)."