Litter bug pays price for expensive butt habit

Wimbledon Magistrates Court has ruled in favour of Merton Council and convicted Morden resident, Jacqueline Earles-Barrett of dropping litter.

Earles-Barrett was charged with a littering offence after she was caught by a council enforcement officer throwing a cigarette butt out of a car window. Refusing to pay the £75 fine she was fined £110.00, ordered to pay council costs of £400.00 and a £15.00 court surcharge. Earles-Barrett paid £43 on the day of her conviction and will pay the balance in instalments of £43.00 on the first day of the month starting from 1 March.

The council launched its anti-litter campaign last year and is determined to stamp out littering offences through education and engaging with the public as well as enforcement. Advertising around the borough carried the ‘Bin it, don’t sling it’ message and targeted the most common types of litter – fast food, chewing gum and sweet wrappers – with the following messages:

1. Dropping food makes you a rat’s best friend: dropping fast food attracts rats, foxes and vermin, bringing disease onto our streets
2. Don’t get yourself in a sticky situation: dropping chewing gum ruins your streets, seats and clothes
3. Don’t be a teenage dirtbag: dropping sweet wrappers is a filthy habit

Games, facts about littering, posters and photographs of local litter picks can be found at

Anyone caught dropping litter is automatically fined £75 which, if paid within 10 days, is reduced to £50.

Merton Council cabinet member for the environment Councillor David Simpson said: ‘Through our anti-litter campaign we are putting our residents first. People’s perception of crime and disorder in their neighbourhood relates to, amongst other things, how tidy and looked after a place is. Littering is an environmental crime and we will not tolerate the offence from anyone. Clearing litter off our streets costs us £3 million per year, money we could use better to benefit local services. ‘Bin it, don’t sling it’ is our message. Those who don’t will be fined, and those who refuse to pay the fine will end up paying much more than they bargained for.’