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Spending a penny in Newham could land you in court

PUBLISHED: 11:38 04 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:38 04 February 2014

Spending a penny in a public place could cost you a lot more if you fail to pay up.

Anyone who fails to pay on time a fixed penalty notice issued by Newham Council for offences such as littering, urinating or smoking in a smoke free area have been told to pay up or they could face additional fines.

The warning comes after a court imposed financial penalties of more than £18,000 on 49 people who ignored fixed penalty notices from the council for littering to urinating and lighting up cigarettes in smoke free areas.

On January 22 Thames Magistrates dealt with 74 cases of people who had ignored three earlier opportunities to pay penalties handed out under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) and the Health Act 2006 (HA).

Thirty four people who failed to turn up at court were convicted in their absence of Environmental Protection Act offences. They were ordered to pay fines, costs and victim surcharges for dropping cigarette butts, littering or urinating in the street. Fifteen people were convicted in their absence of smoking offences under the Health Act.

The court heard all the defendants had had previous chances to pay.

Eight people attended court to admit a similar range of EPA and HA offences. They also received financial penalties, which brought the total amount imposed on the day to £20,795.

Councillor Unmesh Desai, executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Each year we spend around £12m clearing our streets of discarded litter dropped by those who refuse to play by the rules. Our enforcement approach is not intended as a punishment but as a means of changing behaviour to enable us to improve the quality of life for our residents.”

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