It was the wrong place, the wrong time for a motorist who dropped a cigarette from a car - right outside Calderdale Council’s headquarters.
He was spotted by eagle-eyed council officials and immediately approached by an environmental health chief as part of a crackdown on litter louts across the borough.
The driver, Ghulam Ghous, of Thomas Street, Halifax, is now counting the cost of his action.
He was fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £691.88 and a victim surcharge of £15 for the littering offence.
Magistrates heard he was 10 metres away from a dustbin when he dropped the cigarette near the council’s Northgate House offices in Halifax town centre.
They heard the senior environmental health officer had spoken to Ghous after the incident on September 25 last year and he had accepted a fixed penalty notice but he had failed to pay.
Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for Economy and Environment, Barry Collins, said: “It is a criminal offence to drop litter or to throw it from a vehicle. Calderdale Council takes this matter very seriously, and the level of the fines in these cases shows that the courts do too. The council will consider taking anybody who drops litter to court.”
The case against Ghous, who did not turn up to court and was dealt with in his absence, was among a number of successful prosecutions brought by Calderdale Council who have vowed to get tough on litterbugs.
Claire Sykes, of Siddal, Halifax, has to pay a fine and court costs of £904 after dropping a banana skin on Union Street South, Halifax, and Amanda Marshall of Todmorden has to pay a fine and court costs of £1,038 for throwing a cigarette end from her car on Burnley Road, Todmorden.
The council issues a fixed penalty notice of £80 to anyone who commits an environmental offence, including dropping litter and not following Dog Control Orders.
Staff across a range of departments have the power to issue fines, including community wardens, park rangers and cemetery staff.
The council’s cabinet Mmmber for communities, Pauline Nash, added: “People in Calderdale have told us how important it is to them that streets are kept clean. We will not tolerate careless littering of our environment. For example, people who eat food, including chewing gum, whilst walking down the street are expected to put their litter in street litter bins or take it home.”