Where there's smoke there's ire as council sets up ashtray checkpoints
Council officers in the south east are working with local police to create roadblocks that will catch company drivers who have been smoking on the job.
They will check the ash trays inside the cars and even have a good sniff to check for evidence of cigarette smoke.
Acting head of environmental services at Tendring District Council in Essex, Chris Kitchen, said: "Police together with council officers will be stopping business vehicles and public transport vehicles on the highway.
"We have noticed that people are smoking in commercial vehicles where in fact it's banned and we will be looking for evidence that people have been smoking."
It is illegal to smoke in any workplace used by more than one person following legislation introduced in 2006 – and this includes company vehicles.
Anyone found to have broken the law could face a £50 fixed penalty fine, or even being taken to court and fined £200. Employers could see penalties of up to £1000 enforced if they have not displayed the required no smoking signs in their vehicles or have failed to remove ashtrays.
The Taxpayers' Alliance has said the plans are a complete waste of money. John O'Connell said: "Taxpayers want to see police out on the streets solving and preventing crime in their communities, not setting up road blocks to pull over plumbers for having a cigarette."
Tendring District Council claims the road blocks are about raising awareness, and says the campaign has been arranged to coincide with national No Smoking Day on March 9.