Man is fined pounds 1,200 for litter offence

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The Independent Online
AN UNEMPLOYED man was fined pounds 1,200 yesterday for throwing a crisps packet, a paper bag and a drinks can from his car window.

Vaughan Watkins, 20, of Cwmbran, Gwent, was parked 10 yards from a litter bin when an off-duty policeman saw him throw the litter, the town's magistrates were told.

John Williams, for the prosecution, said Watkins was seen by PC Alan Jones, who asked him if he had any intention of picking up the litter and cautioned him. 'Mr Watkins replied 'piss off'. PC Jones produced his warrant card. Again Mr Watkins was cautioned and again he said 'piss off', and he was arrested.'

Watkins, who was not in court, had failed to fill in a means testing form designed to assess disposable income and magistrates assumed his income to be pounds 100 a week. He was fined pounds 100 on each of 12 units under a new fines system.

His mother, Beryl Watkins, said: 'While I agree that it was very wrong of him to do what he did, pounds 1,200 for a crisp packet seems ridiculous. He will definitely be appealing.'

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: 'Magistrates in Gwent have taken the decision that if a defendant does not submit a means form, then they should be assessed as having the maximum amount of disposable income. Mr Watkins can however go before an enforcement court and the fine may be adjusted.'

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