Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Smoking in cab costs taxi driver John £200 in fines.

John Colcomb of Henllys, Trebanog, Rhondda, received two fixed-penalty notices for smoking in a work vehicle and throwing the cigarette butt onto the highway. He is believed to be one of the first cabbies in Wales to be prosecuted under the new smoking ban law introduced last year. The incident happened on September 17 when two of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Public Health and Protection Enforcement officers saw Mr Colcomb driving a black Vauxhall Vectra along Trebanog Road in the village.

As he waited to turn right into Trebanog Service Station he was spotted throwing his spent cigarette through the driver-side window onto the road, an offence which contravenes Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. And, as Mr Colcomb was driving his licensed Ace Taxis cab at the time, he was also in breach of the Health Act 2006 which states it is illegal to smoke in all enclosed public places and workplaces, including vehicles such as taxis, work vehicles and all other forms of public transport.

On the following day Mr Colcomb received the two fixed- penalty notices of £50 for smoking and £75 for litter, both of which he disputed. In refusing to pay the fines, the case ended up being heard at Rhondda Magistrates’ Court and the defendant was ordered to pay a total of £435.21. The defendant did not attend the hearing and the facts were proven in his absence. Mr Colcomb was fined £100 for each of the charges, and ordered to pay £220.21 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

...Ho! Ho! Ho! This makes me laugh, you are a fool John, an arrogant fool. What is it with cigarette smokers? Their arrogance astounds me with their disregard for legislation and litter. Rhondda Cynon Taf Council was right to prosecute John and to make an example of him. We do not want cowboy taxi drivers ignoring the law of the land. Taxi drivers routinely flout many laws and it is time that action is taken against them.

Cigarette smokers are a nuisance with the mess they create. This mess is awful to be around and costs a great deal to remove. They insist on smoking in public and then breathing heavily over you. Smokers obstruct access to public buildings and you have to run the gauntlet past them whilst they loiter. Workers waste paid time having a smoke break yet their employers are reluctant to confront their drug addiction. It is not too much to ask for all workers not to smoke outside of their recognised rest breaks. It is time for councils across the country to stop smokers sticking 2 fingers up to society.
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