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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 14:09 GMT
Father's death drives job move
David Mackay
David Mackay is one of two Highland enforcement officers
A former policeman has revealed how he was inspired to become a smoking ban enforcement officer after his father died of lung cancer.

David Mackay, a former smoker, is one of two officers who will help ensure premises in the Highlands comply with the new legislation.

The 34-year-old said his father James, 59, also a smoker, died of cancer two years ago.

Highland Council revealed Mr Mackay and Ian Wilson's appointments on Tuesday.

Mr Mackay, from Fort William, served with Northern Constabulary in Orkney, Shetland, Nairn and Inverness.

Explaining his decision to become an enforcement officer, he said: "From my own experience - I was a smoker myself and my father died of emphysema cancer two years ago.

"I saw this legislation coming and saw the job and thought it was something to complete my policing."

I don't smoke and I have never smoked
Ian Wilson enforcement officer

Mr Wilson, 53, from Fort Augustus, retired from the police in 2002 after 30 years' service in Ayrshire. He said he took the job for a new challenge.

He said: "I don't smoke and I have never smoked."

Alistair Thomson, Highland Council's head of environmental health, said the enforcement officers will cover 4,500 premises - 1,500 of them are pubs and restaurants - spread over a massive geographical area.

He said Mr Wilson and Mr Mackay may be asked to work undercover.

Mr Thomson said: "There is provision for us to carry out overt and covert operations.

"If, for example, the officers go into an establishment and there are a lot of people smoking there will be no need for them to identify themselves.

People smoking in a pub
Smokers will not be allowed to light up in public places from Sunday

"Maybe the best way of dealing with that kind of situation is to go back the next day and, in a non-confrontational manner, work with the owner on how to approach the problem."

Mr Thomson said there will be responsibilty on publicans to make sure customers comply with the new rules, which come into force on Sunday.

Individuals who flout the legislation face a fixed penalty of 50.

The manager or person in control of any no-smoking premises can be fined a fixed penalty of 200 for either allowing others to smoke there, or failing to display warning notices.

Refusal or failure to pay the fine may result in prosecution and a fine of up to 2,500.

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