A DAD on benefits has had his appeal over a £75 fine when a cigarette butt dropped off the bottom of his wet trainer in a shopping centre car park rejected.

Paul McAuley complained that Blackburn with Darwen Council's litter enforcement offices were like ‘secret police’ when they issued him with a fixed penalty notice earlier this month.

The 34-year-old from Heys Lane in Darwen was on the carpark for soft furnishing store Dunelm at the Peel Centre in Blackburn to buy new bedding when enforcement officers from Kingdom Environmental Services pounced.

Mr McAuley, who receives £60 a week Carers’ Allowance for looking after his disabled wife Kathryn and says he cannot afford the fine, emailed the council's Environmental Enforcement Team asking for a review of the ticket.

They have replied with an offer to extend the repayment period but after 'close inspection of the CCTV footage' refused to let him off.

His only remaining option is to go to court, plead not guilty and risk a larger fine and legal costs.

Mr McAuley said: "I am considering taking the case to court but am worried about having to pay costs.

"The appeal process seems very defective to me. They just told me to pay up.

"I am worried about having to pay the legal costs of the council on top of the fine if I lose."

Blackburn with Darwen Council employs commercial firm Kingdom to tackle littering on the streets and on private land except where the owner asks them not to.

So far only Asda and the Blackburn Foodbank have requested the officers to keep off.