TWO men who dropped litter in the town centre have each been fined £60 by Swindon Magistrates’ Court.

Matthew Badham, 40, was caught dropping a cigarette in the town centre on May 12 while Liam Sargent, 22, was caught leaving a packet of crisps on a chair in Wharf Green on March 10.

When he was stopped by an officer he gave a false name and address, which the court also fined him for.

The pair, who now have criminal records, were taken to court after failing to pay the £80 on-the-spot fine issued under powers recently adopted by the local authority.

Phillip Wirth, prosecuting, said each man was issued with a fixed penalty notice on November 6, but failed to pay within the 14-day limit.

Notices for littering are £50 if paid within 10 days or £80 if paid within 14 days.

They both pleaded guilty to dropping litter in a place open to the air, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Badham said: “I was outside the O2 store in town when my girlfriend called me into the store so I stamped out the cigarette on the floor, but when I went back to pick it up the officer was there.”

He was fined £60 for the offence and made to pay £80 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Sargent, of Cheney Manor Road, was fined £60 for dropping the litter and £40 for giving the false name and address. He was also made to pay £150 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Wirth said the council always took people to court if they failed to pay fixed penalty notices.

“Although the offence itself is not that serious, you are urged to prosecute when there is a widespread problem and Swindon Council has a widespread problem with littering,” he said.

Passing sentence, Mallathy Sitaram, chairman of the bench, said that it was important to stop littering in town, which made it an unpleasant place to visit.

She said: “You might think this is a lot of fuss for a cigarette butt, but as the council lawyer said the council spends a lot of money keeping the streets clean.

“If we see a pile of cigarette butts we find it disgusting and it puts people off coming into the town.”