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Very weird Fixed Penalty Notice for littering

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  • Very weird Fixed Penalty Notice for littering

    Hello forum.

    Just before Christmas, I parked my car on the road and, when I got out, I was stopped by a man who said (this is more or less word-for-word) "I'm not being funny, but I work as a litter expert and I've got footage on my dashcam of you dropping a cigarette end on the floor. I'm going to be sending that footage to the Council and you will be getting a fine, just so you know." And that was it.

    I was a bit shocked and didn't say anything. I assumed he was just a weirdo and nothing would come of it. But I've now had an FPN through the post.

    I've no idea who the guy was. Maybe a member of the public and amazingly the Council have accepted his footage and processed an FPN. Maybe an off-duty litter cop freelancing (he wasn't on-duty - it was school pick up time and he was collecting his grandkid - I saw him later in the yard).

    I am a bit furious about the lack-of-proper procedure in the whole thing and the fact that I was being secretly filmed sitting in my car (possibly an offence?). I think he was filming, rather than just bullshitting, because I don't think he made a note of my licence plate.

    Incidentally, yes I did drop a cigarette end. But, afterwards, as a precaution (although I felt I had just had nothing more than an odd encounter, I must not have just completely shrugged it off) I filmed myself putting in in the bin, including my fitbit with the date and time. I don't know if that will prove useful or not. But my main focus is not avoiding the fine. I want to kick up a fuss about the whole WTF aspect of it and find out how it all unfolded.

    Many thanks for reading.

    How do you think I should proceed?
    Tags: None

  • #2
    s88(1) of the EPA 1990 states that, for a fixed penalty

    (1)** Where on any occasion an authorised officer of a litter authority finds a person who he has reason to believe has on that occasion committed an offence under section 87 above in the area of that authority, he may give that person a notice offering him the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for that offence by payment of a fixed penalty.
    The legislation allows the authorised officer, once they find the person, to issue a fixed penalty. There's nothing in s88 to say that the officer has to observe the act, just that they 'have reason to believe' the offence under s87 was committed.

    S87 outlines the offence
    (1)A person is guilty of an offence if he throws down, drops or otherwise deposits any litter in any place to which this section applies and leaves it.
    If you wanted to argue that video evidence is not admissible as a way for them to issue a fixed penalty notice you would need to dispute it with the council in the first instance and then the court if the council disagreed. I can't see anything in legislation which would prevent the council from using evidence from a video.

    You being filmed in a public location is entirely legal.


    • #3
      Many thanks LGFA92.

      You being filmed in a public location is entirely legal.
      IANAL but as far as I can work out, it would be not be legal if the guy was a council employee (which admittedly he may not have been), because it would be covert surveillance.

      If he was a member of the public, then the filming might be legal, but the council would surely not be able to accept the footage because they would lack a lawful basis for processing under data protection law (?)


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