A TAXI driver caught smoking in her vehicle on several occasions has been prosecuted by Newport City Council.

Helen Elizabeth Jones of Chepstow Road, Newport, had previously received five fixed penalty notices for smoking or littering between 2016 and 2018.

One of these went unpaid and she was prosecuted by the council in 2017, when the court imposed a fine of £220 plus costs.

A senior council manager then witnessed her smoking in her taxi and throwing a cigarette butt to the ground in June 2018.

Taxis are classed as a smoke-free place under the Health Act 2006.

Because of the previous offences it was decided to proceed straight to a prosecution instead of offering her another fixed penalty notice.

Community safety wardens then witnessed her smoking in her taxi on another two occasions and these were added to the prosecution.

In all, Miss Jones was prosecuted at Cwmbran Magistrates Court for four offences - one of littering and three of smoking.

She was found guilty in her absence as she did not attend court.

She received the maximum fine of £200 per offence for the three smoking offences, due to the persistent offending and her blatant disregard for the law.

In total she was ordered to pay £980, including costs.

Councillor Ray Truman, the city council's cabinet member for licensing and regulation said: “The legislation to prevent smoking in smoke-free places was introduced to protect members of the public from the harmful effects of secondhand cigarette smoke.

“Officers will not tolerate breaches of the law and as demonstrated by this case, repeat offenders will be dealt with robustly.

“In addition the council takes littering offences seriously due to the impact on the image of the city and the substantial clean-up costs.”