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A Hackney carriage driver has been ordered to pay more than £300 after he was convicted of smoking in a smoke-free place.

One of Chesterfield Borough Council’s enforcement officers saw Roger Kenneth Paul, 54, of Sheffield Road, Whittington Moor, smoking inside his Hackney carriage vehicle on Rutland Road and Saltergate in May last year.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard last Wednesday that it is an offence under the Health Act 2006 for a person to smoke in a vehicle used by the public.

This includes Hackney carriage vehicles.

The council’s enforcement officer told the court she followed him for about four minutes and saw Paul flick ash out of the driver window on several occasions before throwing the cigarette butt from the window.

Paul, who represented himself at the hearing, said he was not smoking a cigarette as he had given up smoking.

He claimed a problem with the vehicle’s exhaust may have caused smoke to be emitted from the vehicle.

The court found Paul guilty, fined him £150 and ordered him to pay costs of £175 to the council.

Paul had previously been served a fixed penalty notice for smoking.

Five candidates have been announced for an upcoming county council by-election.

The by-election, which will take place on Thursday, February 5, is to elect a new councillor to represent the Brimington division on Derbyshire County Council.

The by-election was called following the death of Walter Burrows last October.

The candidates are:

John Edward Ahern – Liberal Democrat

Mick Bagshaw – Independent

Tricia Gilby – Labour

Lewis Mark Preston – Conservative

Paul Christopher Stone – UKIP

Anyone living in Brimington, Tapton and Hollingwood who has not already registered to vote should do so by Tuesday. The quickest and simplest way to register to vote is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Alternatively, call the council’s elections team on 01246 345402.

Assessments are to be carried out by Chesterfield Borough Council to see if land in Ashgate could be used to help meet the town’s future housing needs.

The council is considering selling the land at Linacre Road to housing developers in phases of eight to ten acres.

The council has a requirement to build 380 homes each year and currently has a backlog of 800 homes to be built in addition to these.

Investigations into the suitability of the land for housing will begin this month with residents getting the opportunity to have their say on the plans soon after, a spokesman for Chesterfield Borough Council said.

Proposals for the site would still need to be the subject of a planning application.

Sharley Park Community Primary School in Chesterfield will install new play equipment after receiving a funding boost.

The £9,928 funding has come from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF).

A total of 64 projects across the East Midlands are receiving a share of £565,263 from the BLF.

For more information about the BLF, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Community groups in Derbyshire are being invited to enter Yorkshire Bank’s Spirit of the Community Awards. A funding boost of £75,000 is up for grabs. Enter at www.ybonline.co.uk/foundation by March 6.

Charity ActionAid is appealing for Chesterfield folk to sponsor a child in Afghanistan. By donating just £15-a-month, the child, called Norullah, will benefit from clean water and basic healthcare. Visit www.actionaid.org.uk