A WIRRAL grandmother could face a criminal record and a £1,000 fine - for dropping her cigarette down a grid.
Lynne Mozeley, from Prenton, was left shocked when two Wirral Council community patrol officers confronted her after she had disposed of her cigarette down a grid in Prenton Hall Road.
Her husband Derek, 65, won the Chief Constable's Silver Award for bravery in the same road just three years ago after he intervened to stop his gun-wielding neighbour from terrorising drivers and passers-by.
The 63-year-old was told her actions were illegal and was handed a £75 fixed penalty notice, which if taken to appeal could leave her with a huge bill and criminal record.
But Lynne said she was confused as to why she had been targeted by the officers as the immediate area was littered with cigarette stumps and empty beer cans.
The nan-of-two said: “I was waiting for the bus to go to do some shopping in Birkenhead and had finished my cigarette so walked a little way down the road to get rid of it.
"There were no bins around and the grid was the only place I could dispose of it.
“I was then approached by the two officers who asked whether I knew that it was an illegal offence to put cigarettes down a grid, to which I replied ‘no’ but he wrote out my ticket anyway.
“I questioned him why I was being fined when there were were tonnes of cigarette butts and empty cans lying around but he simply said it was because they hadn’t caught those people doing it.”
Lynne’s fine will be reduced to £50 if she pays up within 10 days but she said she was unsure what her next steps would be.
And now Lynne is keen for others to know that such actions can result in a penalty fine.
She said: “I would completely understand if I had just put my cigarette out on the ground and left it there because that is littering and shouldn’t be allowed.
"But there was nowhere else for me to get rid of it and I put it right down the grid – if I had know it was illegal I certainly wouldn’t have.”
Councillor Brian Kenny, cabinet member for the environment, made clear the council will never shy away from its litter-preventing duties.
He said: “Every year Wirral Council spends around £4m cleaning up litter, and as such we take our responsibility to prevent littering extremely seriously.
"Dropping litter anywhere in the open-air is an offence and is punishable by a fixed penalty fine of £75.
“Litter bins are provided throughout the borough. Residents who wish to request that a new highway litter bin be provided anywhere in Wirral can do so through the Wirral Council website.”
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that the community patrol officers who issued the penalty notice were from Merseyside Police.
We apologise to the Birkenhead PCSO team and their Neighbourhood Inspector for this unfortunate error.