£400 bill for salt-drop woman
A KIDWELLY woman has described the sickening feeling of being hit with a £400 bill after "accidently" dropping a salt sachet.
Laura Adele Howells pleaded guilty to littering when she appeared at Carmarthen Magistrates' Court.
But the 24-year-old, who was caught after dropping a wrapper from Llanelli's KFC, said she could not believe she had been so heavily penalised for something which was not a deliberate act.
She said: "I couldn't believe it — it was only a salt sachet.
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"I had been to KFC in Trostre with friends and we were sitting in the car having food and I must have dropped it by accident."
The court heard that council environmental enforcement officers were on patrol in Parc Trostre on July 22 last year when they saw Howells, of Craylands Park, throw litter out of the window of her car, which was parked outside B&Q. The officers approached her and told her it was an offence.
Howells was then issued with a fixed penalty notice, but failed to pay it, and was prosecuted in court as a result.
She was fined £75 by magistrates and ordered to pay a further £316.85 prosecution costs plus £15 victim surcharge.
Howells added that the figure was a shock, but said she did not intend to fight her sentence.
"I felt sick when I found out how much the fine was — it is definitely over the top," she said. "I am not the type of person who ever litters. If I had been caught a couple of times then it is fair enough, but that's not the case at all."
But Carmarthenshire Council's executive board member for environmental and public protection Jim Jones said: "We do not want to fine people but we are determined to clean up Carmarthenshire and we will not hesitate to prosecute those that break the law in this way."