A SMOKER has hit out after being fined for dropping his cigarette butt in the street – but admits he is guilty of littering. 

Francis Billington had travelled from Preston to Blackburn to do some shopping – but as he walked from Penny Street Car Park towards to the Mall and market, he flicked the end of his roll-up cigarette in to some shrubbery along the verge of the path. 

The 45-year-old said: “A Kingdom officer wearing a body camera walked up to me and told me he had seen me drop the cigarette.

“I couldn’t deny that I had done it – and I shouldn’t have dropped it – but at the end of the day it’s not the worst littering offence in the world.

“To fine someone £75 and give them 14 days to pay it seems really unfair. That would be impossible for some people to pay back and they could even end up in court.

“I accept that a fine should be issued in order to combat littering but a fine of £30 is more justified than a £75 fine."

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

“Luckily I was able to get it sorted out by borrowing some money from my mother to pay it.”

Mr Billington, who is currently unemployed, enjoys travelling around the county to visit different towns and markets but has said this incident would put him off coming to Blackburn again. 

He said: “You don’t get fined in Preston or other towns, so I wouldn’t want to run the risk of being caught again. 

“Blackburn town centre is already on its knees and this would stop me wanting to go there to spend my money.

“I admit I am a litterer, but I’m not a bad litterer.”

READ MORE: Kingdom litter contract renewed for Blackburn with Darwen

Kingdom officers were brought to the borough in October of 2017, with the power to issue on-the-spot fines for dropping litter and dog fouling. 

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

And councillor Jim Smith, executive member for environment on Blackburn with Darwen’s council, said the town was much better off for it. 

He said: “It’s clear to see walking around the town centre how much cleaner the streets are.

“We take a lot of pride in the way the town looks, that’s why we’ve been received good results in national awards such as Britain in Bloom.

“It is a shame that this man have made the decision to drop his cigarette end on the floor, there is no need for it when there are so many bins in the town centre.”

Kingdom's contract was this year extended until October 2019.

Since they began working in the town, enforcement officers have issued over 8,000 fines.