Office worker, 24, fined 400 for dropping small sachet of SALT in front of litter wardenLaura Howells, 24, dropped the KFC salt sachet – measuring 2.5cm by 5cmShe was spotted by a council litter enforcement officer and given a 75 fineMiss Howells was taken to court when she failed to pay the fine and charged a further 316 in court costs and a 15 victim surcharge fee
12:32 GMT, 28 January 2013
14:06 GMT, 28 January 2013
Fined: Laura Howells, 24, was given a 75 on-the-spot fine when she dropped a packet of salt in a car park in Llanelli, west Wales
A young woman has been fined 400 for dropping a packet of salt on the ground in a car park.
Office worker Laura Howells, 24, dropped the tiny sachet – measuring just 2.5cm by 5cm – as she ate her lunch from a KFC takeaway.
But she was spotted eating in her car by a litter enforcement officer from the local council who handed her a 75-on-the-spot fine.
Miss Howells said she picked up the salt packet – claiming it was just an accident.
She said: 'I couldn't believe it – it was only a salt sachet.
'I had been to KFC with friends and we were sitting in the car having food and I must have dropped it by accident.'
But when she failed to pay the fine, she was hauled up in front of Carmarthen Magistrates Court.
She pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990m and was told that as well as the original fine she would have to pay 316.85 costs and a 15 victim surcharge.
She added: 'I felt sick when I found out how much the fine was – it is definitely over the top.
'If I had been caught a couple of times then it is fair enough, but that's not the case at all. I am not the type of person who ever litters.'
Miss Howells, from Kidwelly, West Wales, was caught by Carmarthenshire Council's environmental enforcement officers in the B&Q car park in Trostre, Llanelli.
Fast food: Miss Howells bought her lunch at this KFC in Llanelli and was eating it in her car when she was approached by a council litter enforcement officer
Jim Jones, the council's executive board member for environmental and public protection, said: 'I hope this acts as a warning to others.
'Cleaning our streets of litter, dog fouling and fly-tipping costs the council 2.2 million a year.
'Dropping litter is against the law, whether it is discarding rubbish from a vehicle, throwing cigarette ends or spitting out chewing gum.
'We do not want to fine people but we are determined to clean up Carmarthenshire and we will not hesitate to prosecute those that break the law in this way.'
The salt packet: Laura Howells, 24, picked up the KFC salt sachet – measuring 2.5cm by 5cm – but was still fined for littering
In court: Miss Howells failed to pay the 75 on-the-spot fine and was ordered to attend Carmarthen Magistrates Court, pictured, where she was ordered to also pay 316 in court costs and a 15 victim surcharge fee