FINES have been handed out to two people for throwing their cigarette ends out of their car windows.

A Worcester woman was spotted by one of Malvern Hills District Council’s community and environmental protection officers committing the offence at the traffic lights on the A449 Worcester Road at Powick.

In a separate incident, a man from Malvern was caught tossing the unwanted butt at the traffic lights on Pickersleigh Road at the junction with the B4208.

Both offenders were issued with £75 fixed penalty notices for littering, which is a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Both incidents took place on April 25, and fines were issued at the start of May.

Littering is an increasing problem across the UK costing councils £800million in clean up costs. Litter being thrown from vehicles is a particular issue with research by one insurance firm revealing 7.6 million drivers admit to throwing litter out of the window while driving.

The government has introduced new powers to tackle the problem which came into force in April. The maximum fine has increased to £150 and drivers can be fined if litter is seen being thrown from their vehicle, even if they are not the ones responsible.

Malvern Hills District Council will be seeking approval from councillors next month to introduce the higher fine and make use of the new law.

Councillor Bronwen Behan, responsible for environment on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Littering is illegal and I hope this sends a very clear message that we will not tolerate people who thoughtlessly and selfishly blight our district.

"Cigarette ends are a particular problem as they are difficult to clean up, can take up to 10 years to decompose and as filters are made of plastic contain toxins which can damage our environment.

“Our message is very simple – don’t drop it, bin it.”