FIVE-HUNDRED inspections are planned for Swindon during the first month of the smoking ban.

The council is preparing for the ban to come into force at 6am on Sunday morning.

Russell Sharland, the council's officer in charge of smoking legislation, said: "No new staff will be recruited to police the ban. It will all be monitored by people doing this type of work anyway.

"We will be particularly focusing our attention on getting the message across in the first few months.

"There will be 500 inspections in the first month or pubs, clubs, bars, and bingo halls which are going to be the most hard hit."

Mr Sharland said businesses should already be prepared for the ban coming into effect and have no smoking signs ready.

He explained that the main entrance to every workplace in England had to display A5 signs including the no-smoking logo and the words "it is against the law to smoke in these premises."

Then further no smoking symbols must be displayed in all company cars and staff entrances.

The council has been handing out Stubbit pouches to pubs across Swindon, to help them encourage smokers puffing away outside not to leave their butts on the street.

The fireproof pockets can be used to extinguish cigarettes and carry the used filters to a bin.

Mr Sharland explained that the law would affect people smoking in public and the managers of workplaces and bars who do not stop smoking on their premises.

Anyone caught smoking somewhere in a restricted area, could be fined up to £200. Bosses who do not make sure they have the correct signs could be fined up to £1,000 and anyone who allows people to continue smoking in an enclosed public space could have to pay up to £2,500.

Council officer Katie White said: "The potential health gain is huge. If people choose to give up because of the ban then that is great, but the legislation is designed to protect workers and the public from second-hand smoke.

"You can't see 85 per cent of second-hand smoke but it contains 4,000 toxic chemicals and 69 of them are known to cause cancer."

The council's youth service is also getting involved with the operation to banish fags from the town's pubs.

Youth support worker Carole Anne Rapson explained the unique project young people in Swindon are being encouraged to take part in to recycle hundreds of redundant ashtrays.

"Some pubs will be keeping a few ashtrays for outdoor smoking areas, but there will be a lot of restaurants getting rid of them all."

The council is offering to swap unwanted ashtrays for personal butt pouches, which pubs can then hand out to customers. The Ashtray Art project will be unveiled at the Youth Service's Big Event at the Link Centre on July 7. Anyone with unwanted ashtrays should call the council on 01793 466040.