A motorist from Axminster who became abusive and threw a parking charge he had received onto the ground has been fined for littering after he was caught on a body-worn camera.
Ian Pears, of Linseed Drive, Axminster, East Devon, parked in a restricted area of Truro, Cornwall, and was given the penalty notice by a Civil Enforcement Officer in October 2019.
Pears refused to pay the £150 fine and failed to show up to court where he was convicted in his absence of littering and fined a total of £502, including costs.
The defendant was fined at Truro Magistrates Court, on August 4, 2020, after Cornwall Council successfully prosecuted him for littering in Princes Street, in Truro.
The court heard how Pears threw the parking charge onto the ground on the morning of October 9, 2019.
It was captured on a body-worn camera by a Civil Enforcement Officer, who was prompted to activate the recording equipment because of the level of abuse directed towards him.
The filmed footage was passed onto Cornwall Council’s Community Protection Team and Pears received a £150 fixed penalty charge.
Pears refused to pay the fine and the council passed the matter to Truro Magistrates’ Court.
He was due to appear in court on August 4, 2020, but failed to attend and was found guilty of littering in his absence.
A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: “Cornwall has had its first prosecution for littering since Civil Enforcement Officers had their powers expanded from traffic offences.
“On 4 August 2020, at Truro Magistrates Court, Cornwall Council successfully prosecuted Mr Ian Pears of Axminster, Devon for littering in Princes Street, Truro.
“The incident took place at 10.15am on 9 October 2020 when Mr Pears threw a Parking Charge Notice he had received for parking in a restricted area onto the ground.
“The incident was captured by the Civil Enforcement Officer’s body-worn camera.
“The officer felt it necessary to activate his body-worn camera due to the level of abuse being directed at him by Mr Pears.
“The footage was then passed on to the Council’s Community Protection Team. On receipt of the evidence a fixed penalty of £150 was issued to Mr Pears which would have allowed him the opportunity to discharge his liability for the offence.
“Mr Pears refused to pay the fixed penalty amount and therefore the matter was pass by Cornwall Council to the Magistrates Court for their consideration.
“He was summoned to attend court on 4 August 2020, but did not attend despite indicating to the court back in June that he would.
“The court decided the case in his absence and found him guilty of a littering offence.”
Cllr Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council cabinet member for public protection, said the council was ‘pleased with the outcome’.
He said the successful prosecution ‘put down a marker’ that verbal abuse of its staff would not be tolerated.
Cllr Nolan said for 18 months the civil parking enforcement team has been working closely with colleagues in Community Protection to train Civil Enforcement Officers to help tackle environmental crime in the community.
He said: “This action represents the first court prosecution since our new approach, although Civil Enforcement Officers have issued many fixed penalties either through witnessing offences or serving them themselves.
“More than twenty Civil Enforcement Officers have now been trained and authorised to serve fixed penalty notices for environmental offences such as littering and dog fouling.”
He added: “Additional work with town and parish councils has also increased Cornwall’s enforcement capacity, which should act as a deterrent to those thinking of dropping litter or not picking up after their dogs.
“It also puts down a marker that verbal abuse of our staff will not be tolerated.”
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