A LITTERBUG smoker has been left counting the cost of probably the most expensive cigarette he will ever have.
Lee Hallas, 33, was slapped with a whopping £1,015 court bill for throwing his cigarette butt out of a car window last March.
If he had paid the fine issued at the time it would have cost him just £60.
Mr Hallas, of Briarlyn Road, Birchencliffe, was due to go on trial at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court for the offence yesterday.
But he failed to turn up and was found guilty in his absence.
The court heard that Mr Hallas was driving his Audi car on Market Street, Milnsbridge, on March 17 2008.
Mark White, a civil enforcement supervisor for Kirklees Council at the time, was standing outside the Armitage Arms pub when he saw the car at about 1.30pm.
Mr White told the court: “I observed the male driver drop a cigarette butt from the driver’s window onto the road.”
He took down the registration number of the car.
Carol Holberry, prosecuting for the council, said the matter was reported to the council’s enforcement office, which issued a fixed penalty notice to Mr Hallas.
The fine was not paid so a letter was sent to his house.
When he did not respond, the matter was referred to court.
Mrs Holberry told the court Mr Hallas was prosecuted for the more serious offence of fly tipping – not littering – because he had failed to provide sufficient information to the council.
The defendant had denied the charge at a previous court hearing but had failed to turn up at another one last month.
No evidence was presented on his behalf at yesterday’s trial.
Mr Hallas’s £1,015 penalty includes a £525 fine, £475 in legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge. He must pay within two weeks.
Steve Noble, the council’s assistant director of environmental services, said: “I am delighted that the magistrates have clearly understood the significance of dropping litter and that it will not be tolerated in Kirklees.
“There are now more than 400 trained enforcement officers in the district who can issue fixed penalty notices for this kind of offence.”