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Disbelief after 72 year old pensioner fined £80 by litter warden for ‘flicking ash of cigarette’

There has been anger and disbelief after a 72 year old pensioner on his way to Mass was fined £80 by a Litter Warden contracted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, for flicking his cigarette ash on the ground.

The quiet and unassuming gentleman who does not wish to be named, was walking along Broughshane Street in Ballymena last Friday morning (27 August), enjoying his cigarette, before he nipped the ash off and put the the remainder back into the packet.

To his surprise, he heard a voice from behind him that came from the Litter Warden. Allegedly the warden told the man that he had been following him and witnessed him littering.

The shocked elderly man said he tried to explain to the warden that he had not dropped the butt, and had placed it back in the packet. He said the warden refused to enter into conversation, and instead produced the fine out of his pocket, asking for a name and address.

The pensioner’s cigarette butt that he placed back in the cigarette packet.

The Litter Warden is employed by Waste Investigations Support & Enforcement (WISE), who Council contracted as extra help to tackle littering and dog fouling across the borough.

The Litter Wardens were deployed on the streets of Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus on 12 April 2021 as part of yearlong trial to help prosecute those who flout the rules, and were given powers to issue fixed penalty notices (FPN) to anyone failing to pick up after their dog or dropping litter in the street.

MEABC said in April that the new environmental enforcement service would ‘target those anti-social people who don’t dispose of their litter in a responsible way or fail to pick up after their dogs.’

WISE are a specialist supplier of environmental crime services to councils across the UK. At the launch, Managing Director John Dunne said:

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. WISE deliver a wide range of environmental investigations and enforcement services on a national basis and have consequently contributed to a reduction in street litter and the associated cost of cleaning it up as a result of our efforts.

“Our aim is to reduce environmental crime for the long term and patrol the area in an ‘intelligence led’ manner using geo fencing technology and focusing our controls on identified hotspots received from the complaints and feedback of the general public.

“We will operate a robust but always proportionate methodology to tackle environmental crime, using a wide range of technical support including wireless body worn cameras and a handheld computer which will confirm the identity of an alleged offender before issuing a fixed penalty notice.

“Our officers have been instructed to communicate openly with the community with the overall aim of inclusivity for the Mid and East Antrim community to play their part in the task ahead.”

In relation to this specific incident, we approached local Council for comment. A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said:

“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council cannot make comment on individual cases which may or may not be subject to enforcement, and no inference should be drawn from this. Any individual wishing to challenge a Fixed Penalty Notice may do so by making written presentation to

“Council provides a wide range of litter and waste facilities throughout the borough to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of our towns, villages and communal areas are maintained. This also includes cigarette ‘butt pouches’ which are available from our Enforcement Team.”

Love Ballymena understand that with the help and encouragement of family, the elderly gentleman has now lodged a formal complaint with the Council.


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