Council apologises after officers fined mourners smoking outside funeral home

CCTV of Ann Bentley & John Harpur being confronted by council officers. (SWNS)

A council has been forced to apologise for the behaviour of two enforcement officers who fined two mourners for “littering” outside a funeral home.

Ann Bentley and John Harpur were handed a fine of £80 for throwing away cigarette butts outside the home in Burnley, Lancashire on Thursday last week.

CCTV footage appears to show the enforcement officers “lying in wait” in a car moments before the smokers placed their cigarette butts inside a plant pot.

They could then be seen chasing down the unwitting pair and issuing them with a fine.

Burnley Council said on Tuesday that the fines had been cancelled and apologised to Ms Bentley and Mr Harpur.

Ann Bentley & John Harpur outside the funeral home. (SWNS)

They were attending the funeral of their friend, Dougie Wise, 73, during the incident.

Ann said: “John and I had just wanted a quick cigarette before going inside the funeral home.

“We finished smoking and left the butts in two plant containers by the doorway and out of nowhere the two enforcement officers appeared.

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“They must have lay in wait because they came after us so fast.

“One officer spoke to John first and accused us of littering, saying we’d dropped our butts on the pavement and not in the plant pots.

“I’d already gone inside by this point but the other officer just came chasing after me. I couldn’t believe it when she told me I was being handed an £80 fine.

The enforcement officers were reportedly 'lying in wait' for the smokers. (SWNS)

“I think it’s disgusting the way we were treated. How low can you go picking on mourners at a funeral?”

John, 68, said the enforcement officers had refused to listen when he said the cigarette butts had not been dropped on the floor.

“I’m disgusted they chose to hang around outside a funeral home,” he said.

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“I’ve sent a strongly-worded letter to the council and I expect the two enforcement officers to be disciplined.”

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: "We resolved this situation as soon as we were made aware of the matter and, in accordance with our procedures, the FPNs were immediately cancelled.

"We apologise to the two people involved for any upset this caused and we've sent flowers to Ann as a way of saying sorry."

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