RECENT fines imposed by Carmarthen magistrates for litter offences have been questioned by a leading Carmarthenshire councillor.

Cllr Jim Jones, Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection, said he was disappointed that Carmarthen magistrates had issued fines for just £60 – particularly for one of the offenders, as it was the second time he had appeared before the court for dropping litter.

Daniel Mark Barlow, aged 33, of Bryn Lluan, Gorslas, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. As well as the £60 fine, he was ordered to pay £50 towards prosecution costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge.

The court heard that he had been caught by council environmental enforcement officers throwing takeaway food packaging from a car parked outside B&Q in Parc Trostre on May 23 this year.

He told the officers he was too lazy to go to the bin.

When the officers checked their records back in the office they discovered Barlow had previously been prosecuted in court for littering in March, 2011. On that occasion, he had been fined £100 and ordered to pay £150 prosecution costs.

Steffan Lodwick, aged 30, of Tir Becca, Tumble, also appeared before magistrates for an offence under the Environmental Protection Act. He pleaded guilty by post and again was fined £60 and ordered to pay £50 prosecution costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge.

The court heard that officers saw Lodwick throw a straw wrapper from a car parked at McDonald’s in Cross Hands on July 18 this year.

He was issued with a fixed penalty notice but failed to pay it, despite being sent a reminder letter.

Cllr Jones said: “I am very disappointed with the level of these fines imposed by the magistrates; it is less than the fixed penalty notice issued by our enforcement officers which is £75.

“It was also the second time that one of the men had appeared in court for a litter offence so he should have received a much larger fine in my opinion. It does not make sense and it sends out the wrong message.

“We don’t want to fine people, we don’t want them to litter in the first place; but if they refuse to listen then we have no choice.”

Cllr Jones is appealing to people to use the litter bins provided, and if there are no bins nearby to take their litter home with them.