Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 17:26 UK

Boy is fined for dropping balloon

Max Twizell
Max says he would have picked up the balloon if asked

A teenager who was fined for littering when he dropped a deflated balloon in a city centre may fight the case.

Max Twizell, 16, of Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland, was given a 50 litter fine after dropping the balloon in old Eldon Square, Newcastle.

His mother Lorraine said the penalty was "excessive" and is seeking legal advice over whether to pay it.

A spokesman for Newcastle City Council said it was expected to take firm action against littering.

Max said: "50 is a lot of money to me. I know I did something wrong, but if the warden had asked me to pick it up I would have done. But it was just a balloon."

Ms Twizell said: "There are far worse crimes and far worse cases of littering in the city and I think it is vindictive and just a way of trying to break up the kids who hang around Old Eldon Square."

'Quality of life'

Stephen Savage, director of regulatory services and public protection for the Council, said: "The teenager has 28 days to pay and if not may face court action.

"To some people this may sound harsh but we believe that to create a cleaner, safer city we must send out a clear message that this will not be tolerated.

"During 2007-8 we issued more than 1,000 fixed penalty notices.

"Residents tell us through surveys that environmental crime including littering, graffiti and flytipping is of great concern to them and severely affects their quality of life, so we are determined to tackle this problem."

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