A NUMBER of people in Fermanagh have been fined £75 for “dropping a cigarette butt or a sweet paper” on the street, according to UUP MLA Tom Elliott.

During a debate on waste management on Tuesday, the Fermanagh-south Tyrone MLA told Environment Minister Mark H Durkan that there was “considerable frustration among the public”.

“There is a huge difference between that and 500,000 tons of waste being dumped,” he said, “Can the Minister give us and the public any reassurance about how he will deal with bigger waste disposal dumps, which are mainly activated by criminal gangs, compared with low-level littering?” asked Mr. Elliott.

“I do not believe that the current deterrents for waste crime match the seriousness of the offence. That is something that I have to work with my colleague Minister Ford and, indeed, the judiciary on,” replied Minister Durkan.

“As regards those poor individuals being fined £75 for dropping litter, I have been contacted by some of these people as well, looking for my assistance with quashing the fine. I believe that enforcement is an important tool in addressing waste crime; however, it must be done on a scale matching the offence,” he said.