A JUDGE says it is "economics of the madhouse" for people not to pay an £80 fixed penalty notice for littering with cigarette butts as subsequently being brought to court could cost more.
District Judge Mark Hamill was speaking at Newtownards Magistrates Court where a number of people were fined for such offences.
Many of the offences involved council officials spotting a butt being thrown from the windows of cars.
Details of the vehicle owner can then be obtained through the Driver Vehicle Agency.
The court was told individuals are offered fixed penalty notices of £80.
If not paid, the cases are taken to court and the Council applies to the court for 'costs' associated with the cases - to be paid by the defendants.
In some cases the ages of defendants are not given on charge sheets regarding such cases.
Coia Lucio Goldy, of Church Road, Holywood, was fined £80 and has to pay £80 costs and a £15 offender levy after a cigarette was dropped from a vehicle.
Darren McNab, of Linen Crescent, Bangor, was fined £80 and has to pay a £15 offender levy regarding a cigarette butt being dropped from a vehicle at Blair Mayne Road, Newtownards.
The judge heard of an issue about a fixed penalty notice in that case and did not order him to pay costs.
In another case a BMW driver with a Belfast address was spotted dropping a cigarette at Regent Street, Newtownards and a Belfast man was fined for dropping a butt at Seacliff Road in Bangor.
Meanwhile, Joan McConkey (48), of Landsdowne Gardens, Newtownards, is accused of depositing a cigarette butt in the area of the town's Movieland car park and Kate Spears (39), of Craigdarragh Road, Helen's Bay, is charged with a cigarette butt offence and both cases were adjourned to December 17.