Manchester Woman Fined For Dropping Greggs Paper Bag In 2009
Littering is bad, we all know that. It’s dirty and inconvenient to those of us who just want to have a nice stroll without having to kick rubbish out of the way – but more than that, it’s detrimental to the environment.
In 2020, as we’re in the middle of a climate emergency, it’s become common sense not to litter. We know to avoid it at all costs, and expect consequences to come our way if we do one day decide to chuck our rubbish on the floor.
But what if you littered when you were younger – a whole 10 years ago, to be precise – at a time when climate change wasn’t at the forefront of our minds and you didn’t really know any better? And what if now, all these years later, you were being fined for exactly that?
That’s what happened to Grace Firth, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, who recently found herself in court accused of littering after dropping a Greggs paper bag on the floor more than 10 years ago.
Now 32, Grace had been convicted in her absence in August 2009, fined £175 and ordered to pay £180 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge. However, Grace said she knew nothing about the original prosecution and only heard about it for the first time in December last year.
Grace told Stockport Magistrates’ Court she received a letter on December 8 regarding a ‘historical debt’, adding she had never received any letters before then as they had all been sent to her mum’s house.
She told the court, as per BBC News:
Any mail for me was returned to sender or thrown away.
Prior to her court date, magistrates had questioned whether the date of the offence was a mistake because of how long ago it happened.
On Tuesday, February 25, they accepted Grace’s explanation and decided to cancel the original £180 costs order, with Chairman Edward Tasker telling her: ‘You’ve been very fair and very honest.’
Tasker reduced her fine to £40 plus the £15 victim surcharge, before thanking her for ‘being so honest and for turning up’. So at least there’s that.
Still, I reckon she’s set a record for the most expensive sausage roll/steak bake/sausage, bean and cheese melt ever to be bought from the bakery chain. I mean, come on. £55? Yikes.
Hopefully Grace’s case will discourage others who might be thinking of littering in the future.
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