Anger over £80 "litter" fine for leaving Costa Coffee cup on cafe table

By Antony Clay | 26/01/2018

Anger over £80 'litter' fine for leaving Costa Coffee cup on cafe table

A WOMAN who was fined for littering after she left a used cup on a table outside a coffee shop has warned other cafe visitors to be on their guard.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was stunned to be hit with an £80 fine by a member of Rotherham Borough Council’s anti-litter squad.

After the Advertiser intervened, the fine was scrapped but the shopper said the incident had left a bad taste in the mouth.

She said: “I ordered a coffee in a takeaway cup as I wanted to sit outside and smoke with my coffee. I sat at a Costa table within the fenced-off area.

“When I had finished, I left my Costa takeaway cup on the table, as had all other people leaving their cups, saucers and plates with sandwich wrappers on.

“When I walked out of the Costa area, I was approached by a man who had been standing with his colleague over the road watching me. 

“He then introduced himself as a council worker and informed me he was going to issue me a fixed penalty fine for littering which he then proceeded to do — a fine of £80.

“I never drop litter, and I asked how this could be littering in a private rented area when Costa Coffee employs waitresses to clear their tables?”

Two days after the Advertiser took up the case and contacted the council, the cafe customer received a letter saying the fine had been cancelled.

Her partner said: “I do find it difficult to understand why they thought the fine should still stand when I challenged it, but as soon as a newspaper contacts them, they cancel it.”

Ajman Ali, Rotherham Council’s interim assistant director for community safety and street scene, said: “This ticket was issued in error. Our apologies for this and any fine paid will be refunded to her.”

A council spokeswoman confirmed that its staff were able to give out tickets in a public area such as Parkgate Retail Park even though the park is privately owned.

Costa Coffee was approached for a comment but none was received before our deadline.

The Advertiser recently reported that the council’s anti-litter squad had handed out more than 5,300 fines over the last seven months — an increase of 9,900 per cent on the figure before the squad was set up.

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