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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
First smoking prosecution issued
Customers have been given ashtrays in the Happy Scots Bar
A landlord in Lancashire is thought to be the first to be summonsed to appear in court for flouting the ban on smoking in public places in England.

Hamish Howitt is being prosecuted for allowing smokers to light up in his Happy Scots Bar pub in Blackpool.

Council officers served seven separate summonses on Mr Howitt on Thursday for failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free premise.

Mr Howitt will appear before Blackpool Magistrates' Court on 1 August.

The publican has been against the ban since it came into effect on 1 July and said he was prepared to go to jail rather than pay any penalty and would take the matter to the Court of Human Rights.

I'm not pro-smoking just pro-freedom
Hamish Howitt, owner of the Happy Scots Bar

Owners and managers of pubs, clubs and cafes are legally-bound to enforce the ban and face fines of up to 2,500 if they fail to do so.

Scotsman Mr Howitt could face a total bill of up to 17,500 if he is convicted of the offences.

He said: "I don't incite smoking in my pub as our karaoke bar next-door is completely non-smoking. I'm not pro-smoking just pro-freedom.

"Having a pint and a cigarette in a pub is one of the last great enjoyments left for the working classes.

"I'm not prepared to shove my customers outside in the wind and the rain to allow them their right to smoke."

Blackpool Council said it had been approaching the enforcement of the ban throughout the resort in a "non-confrontational way" and had verbally informed Mr Howitt he faced prosecution before the summonses was issued.

'First' smoking prosecution bid
11 Jul 07 |  Lancashire
Smoke ban rebel pub under threat
02 Jul 07 |  Manchester


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