Smokers caught puffing away in Brierley Hill flat's lifts after complaints from residents (From Stourbridge News)
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Smokers caught puffing away in Brierley Hill flat's lifts after complaints from residents
2:24pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in News
TWO smokers caught puffing away in the lifts of a block of flats in Brierley Hill have landed court bills totalling more than £800.
Tara Ash and Natalie Williams were seen smoking in the lifts at St John’s Court, Lower Derry Street, in January, Dudley Magistrates Court heard.
Dudley Council had received complaints from residents angered at people smoking in the communal areas of the flats.
The pair, both also residents, were served with fixed penalty fines for £50, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.
But they both failed to pay the fines prompting the council to take them to court.
Ash, aged 21, pleaded guilty to smoking in a smoke free place by letter to the court and was fined £200 with £295 costs and £20 victim surcharge.
Williams, aged 19, also pleaded guilty to smoking in a smoke free place and was fined £54 with £295 costs and £20 victim surcharge.
Councillor Steve Waltho, cabinet member for housing, said: “We had received complaints from local people objecting to a minority of anti-social people smoking in communal areas of flats including the lifts.
“We sent letters to advise people it was against the law to smoke in these areas but these subsequent prosecutions highlight that Dudley Council will simply not tolerate this kind of anti-social behaviour.”
Councillor Tracy Wood, cabinet member for environment and culture, said: “Sufficient opportunity was given to these offenders to pay a fixed penalty charge of £30 but when they failed to pay the council showed it will not hesitate to prosecute where appropriate.
“Breathing in someone’s second hand smoke is a health risk which is why smoking is now prohibited in workplaces and indoor public places, including the communal areas in flats.
“The council has a duty to protect health and enforce regulations and will act when complaints of this nature are received in order to protect public health.”
The court hearing was held at Dudley Magistrates on Thursday August 22.
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