Council approves fines to prevent costly court action

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed to issue fixed and civil penalty notices for environmental crimes to avoid costly court action.

The decision, made on 10 April, means those that commit environmental crimes in the borough will face a fine instead of being taken to court and facing a criminal conviction and larger court fine.

Once implemented, fly-tipping, advertising vehicles for sale on a roadside, abandoning a vehicle, graffiti, selling alcohol to a child and repairing a vehicle on a road (for business use or when it becomes a nuisance) will all be finable offences as opposed to having to go through court.

These fixed and civil penalty notices are estimated to recover £10,000 for the council in 2019/20.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “We want to deter those who are intent on committing crimes that blight our communities.

“Issues such as graffiti, abandoned cars and fly-tipping are frequently raised by residents and ward councillors.

“This is a quicker, more cost effective response, but be assured that the quality of evidence is no different to that of a case being brought to prosecution.

“Fixed and civil penalty notices offer an alternative route to deal with an offence more effectively and without the person receiving a criminal conviction and a larger court fine.”

If any fixed penalty notice remains unpaid, the case will still be referred to the Magistrates’ Court.

If a civil penalty notice remains unpaid, the matter is dealt with as a financial charge with any appeal being heard by tribunal or County Court.

As well as the changes to the fixed and civil penalty notices, signs advertising a series of new public space protection orders (PSPOs) are now being put up across the borough.

A PSPO allows councils to deal more effectively with recurring and unreasonable anti-social behaviour within identified public spaces

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