People flouting the law by smoking in bus stations have been targeted in a council crackdown.
Durham County Council officers carried out patrols at the county’s five bus stations in January and February in a campaign which saw action taken against offenders smoking illegally.
The operation saw 22 people spoken to at Stanley station for smoking in its entrance recess. Advice was given and attention drawn to the signage in place.
One smoker was given a fixed penalty notice for smoking inside the station.
At Durham station, one person was given two fixed penalties – the first for smoking on the indoor concourse and the second for littering, after being seen throwing his cigarette on the floor.
At Consett, advice on the council’s no smoking policy was given to two people found smoking around the station but not in an enclosed area and at Peterlee, two fixed penalties were issued for littering.
The patrol at Bishop Auckland saw one person given a fixed penalty for smoking in an enclosed bus shelter.
Two people were given fixed penalties for littering.
Given the high footfall at the stations throughout the campaign, overall support for not smoking was very high.
Smoking in bus stations has been illegal since 2007.
The law also applies to bus shelters which are enclosed or substantially enclosed.
The council carried out the crackdown after intelligence found that people were continuing to smoke in county bus stations despite the law.
Joanne Waller, the council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “This campaign shows that we are taking smoking in bus stations very seriously and will take action against people committing offences.
“Many people use the bus stations to travel daily and we need to make sure that their journeys are enjoyable and aren’t affected by people breaking the law in this way.
“We’d ask people to take note of the signage and be considerate.”
As part of the campaign, smoke free enforcement posters were displayed in the stations.
Arriva and Go North East also supported the initiative by spreading the message amongst their staff working at the sites.
Monitoring of smoking at bus stations in County Durham will continue and further action taken where necessary.