Painter slapped with PS30 fine for smoking in own van!

July 25th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 25 (ANI): A self-employed painter and decorator says he is dumbfounded after being slapped with a 30 pound fine for smoking a cigarette in his own van.

Gordon Williams, from Llanafan, near Aberystwyth, Mid Wales, was on the way to buy tea bags for his wife when he was slapped with a fixed penalty fine.

The 58-year-old was handed a 30-pound on-the-spot fine under new anti-smoking laws that ban lighting-up in the work place.

However, Williams, a grandfather, hit out claiming the fine was unjustified and unfair because his van is a private vehicle.

I was on my way to a shop to buy some teabags when the council official pulled me over. I was told that because my van is my place of work I had broken the smoking laws, Times Online quoted him, as saying.

I am dumbfounded. The van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work. It is not my place of work. I decorate houses, not vans. I dont use it for work so I cant see how they can do me for smoking in the workplace, he added.

Williams supports the anti-smoking laws and says he would never light up near a non-smoker.

I respect anyone who chooses not to smoke but I would also ask for the same respect to have the freedom to smoke in my own private vehicle, he said.

Williams was on the A487 near Aberystwyth when his Suzuki Carry van was pulled over by Ceredigion council officials carrying out safety checks.

He believes it is the first ticket of its kind handed out by the council since the smoking regulations came in last year, because the fixed-penalty notice was numbered 0001.

His wife, Sue, 56, paid the fine because she was worried that it would be doubled if he did not pay immediately.

If it wasnt paid in a certain time it doubled so I went to the council offices and gave them the 30 pound. Even they were a bit surprised by it. I asked for a receipt but they didnt have any special forms for it, she said.

They just wrote out that I had paid them 30 pound on a plain piece of paper.

If you ask me they have overstepped the mark. I use the van myself for shopping trips does that mean I also couldnt smoke in there? It was a very expensive packet of teabags. It just doesnt make sense to us, she added. (ANI)

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