25 Jul 2008

It came to light

A painter and decorator from Ceredigion says he is "dumbfounded" after being slapped with a £30 fine for smoking a cigarette in his own van.

Gordon Williams says he had popped to the shops earlier this month, when he was pulled over by council officials.

"I was told that because my van is my place of work I had broken the smoking laws," he said.

"I am dumbfounded - the van is only insured for private use and to get me to and from work," added Mr Williams, from Llanafan, near Aberystwyth.

"It not my place of work - I decorate houses not vans."

The grandfather decried the on-the-spot penalty as the "Big Brother state going too far".

Simon Clark, the director of smoking freedom group Forest, condemned the fine as "absolutely ridiculous".

He said: "It smacks of some jobsworth council official interpreting the law to the most extreme level.

"This surely is not what the change in the law was intended for - it was not meant to harass and persecute people going about their ordinary lives.

For my readers around the world, this happened in Wales.

What are your thoughts?