A heavily pregnant mother-of-eight in England has complained she cannot afford school uniforms for her children after being fined £80 for dropping a cigarette butt.
Samantha Keates refused to pay up when litter wardens caught her.
The 39-year-old said it would leave her unable to provide for her kids’ clothes or take them on trips. Samantha, who has eight children aged between four and 20 and is due to give birth to her ninth in six weeks.
She admits to smoking 20 a day, despite warnings that it can seriously damage an unborn baby’s health. And she insists dropping a cigarette butt in the street should not be classed as littering.
Samantha, who was caught in her home town of Folkestone, Kent, said: “I felt it was inappropriate. I hadn’t been shoplifting and I felt belittled.
“It wasn’t as if I dropped a Coke can or a plastic packet. I didn’t really realise I was littering. I offered to pick it up but there was no second chance.”
Samantha’s partner, David Kennyford, who is unemployed and living on benefits, said the fine should be scrapped.
He said: “We go camping and it’s a complete mess. People litter there and seem to get away with it. They should be focusing their efforts there instead.”
Bosses at Shepway District Council, who employ a firm called XFor to provide litter wardens to patrol Folkestone, have demanded that the fine be paid in full.
A council spokesman said: “The majority of people in Shepway agree with us that litter spoils the appearance of our towns and our district and is unacceptable. Many are supportive of the zero tolerance we are taking. Cigarette butts are litter and litter should not be dropped on our streets.”